Basketball: Southern Huskies join NBL as first overseas team

Tasmania's Southern Huskies have been admitted as the first overseas team in the NZ National Basketball League.

NBL board chairman Iain Potter heralded their addition as "ground-breaking and innovative".

"I believe this is the first time in New Zealand sporting history that an overseas team has joined a New Zealand-owned league," he said.

"On many occasions, we have seen New Zealand teams joining Australian leagues, but not the other way round."

"There was some apprehension around the costs and logistics associated with it, but the Huskies, as part of the deal have offered to pick up all of that.

It's a big financial contribution to the New Zealand league from a team that ultimately wants to be in Australia's.

The club confirming they are still seeking inclusion in an expanded ANBL in the next few years.

But even if the Huskies do earn a spot, they're contractually obliged to have a presence here, for five years.

"They're keen to stay in, even if they make the ANBL – they want to have a development team playing and they believe New Zealand is the best place for that," Potter said.

The New Zealand competition previously consisted of eight local teams, with Southland Sharks toppling Wellington Saints for the title last season.

Both the Huskies and NZ NBL officials say it adds another layer of excitement to the competition.

"We've assembled an exciting and extremely competitive team," said Huskies chief executive Justin Hickey. "We're fully committed to accessing the vast talent pool in Tasmania.

"We're hoping to provide an aspirational team for all basketball prospects to aim for, especially one that enjoys international exposure.

"Aside from the high-quality basketball, we're excited about the opportunities to showcase both Tasmania and New Zealand from a tourism perspective."  

Former ANBL player Anthony Stewart will coach the Huskies, who have signed 2.11m centre Harry Froling to their playing roster.

Froling is currently on the Adelaide 36ers squad, after a two-year US college career with Southern Methodist University and Marquetter University.