New Breakers import Rakeem Christmas promising to bring physicality to Australian NBL

NZ Breakers' newest big man Rakeem Christmas has promised to bring physicality to the Australian NBL club.

The 26-year-old participated in his first training session with the team on Tuesday, only arriving in the country the day before.

Christmas brings a wealth of experience at the top level, having previously played in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers, after he was selected 36th overall in the 2015 draft.

Stints in the NBA Development League and Turkish league followed, before making his way down south.

He can play both the power forward and centre positions, and is confident he can adapt to the officials in the NBL, when his six-foot-nine frame finally hits the court.

"I'm a very physical player, rebounding, blocking shots and just doing the little things, setting screens and all that," he said.

"The refs... I had to go through that in Turkey and you never know how they going to call certain things.

 "That first game, I'm going to see how it goes and just try to stay out of foul trouble - just play my game, not say anything and just try to keep my hands out of the cookie jar."

His arrival at the club islargely due to his close bond with fellow American import DJ Newbill. The pair played against each other at high school and college, and Christmas quickly jumped at the opportunity to join his friend in New Zealand.

Christmas played for Syracuse in college basketball.
Christmas played for Syracuse in college basketball. Photo credit: Getty

"I've kept in contact with DJ and once the opportunity came up, they hit me up and told me about the situation, and I thought it was a good fit for me," he said.

"I'm just going to come here and have fun, and enjoy New Zealand."

Despite his basketball pedigree, Christmas is not looking to stamp his authority onto the team's current situation.

Having only just arrived, he is more than happy to take the backseat role, as the Breakers prepare for their clash against the Illawarra Hawks.

"Soon as I landed yesterday, I got a quick workout in to get my legs going and to try to get that first win out the way," he said.

"It's been a lot so far, but I'm trying to grasp as much as I can and be ready for the game that's coming up. This week's going to be like school all over again, just trying to learn stuff as fast as I can.

"The team already have itself going on, I just want to gel into it and just try to contribute as much as I can."



Contact Newshub with your story tips: