ANBL: NZ Breakers finalise 2019/20 roster with trio of signings

Henry, Obekpa, and Majok.
Henry, Obekpa, and Majok. Photo credit: Getty

The Breakers have completed their roster for the upcoming 2019/20 ANBL season with the announcement of three new players.

American Sek Henry and Nigerian Chris Obekpa are the club's final two imports, while Sudanese-Australian Ater Majok rounds out a new-look 12-man squad for the Auckland-based franchise.

The influence of new Israeli head coach Dan Shamir is immediately apparent in the acquisition of shooting guard Henry. The 32-year-old was a superstar in Israel two seasons ago, posting per game averages of 17.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists on his way to being named the league's MVP.

The Los Angeles-native played four years of college basketball for Nebraska then made his way to Europe after being passed up in the 2010 NBA Draft, playing in Poland, Italy, France and Spain prior to his star turn in Israel.

Newly named Assistant coach Zico Coronel expects Henry to make an instant impact in the ANBL.
"He can do it all," said Coronel. "He is a very good perimeter shooter, he can play multiple positions, he can create his own shot, and he’s pretty dynamic athletically when he gets loose at the rim."

Final import Obekpa helps fill a much-needed frontcourt vacancy for the Breakers. The defensive specialist was a dominant interior force in the Turkish SuperLeague, leading the competition in blocks per game (2.5) in 2018, then last year lifting to another level in Lebanon with 3.3 blocks to go with 11 points and 7.8 rebounds per contest.

The 6ft 9in 25-year-old played three years of college basketball with New York powerhouse St Johns, and had a fleeting stay with the NBA's Golden State Warriors in 2016. He also had stints with both the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns' Summer League squads.

Cornel believes Obekpa will be a difference-maker for the Breakers and provide a dynamic inside presence at both ends of the court.

"He's a rim protector, a great rebounder, great interior defender...who will bring some excitement on lobs and screen dives."

Rounding out the centre rotation will be Majok, who joins the Breakers from Lebanon's Champville, where he averaged 11 points, 7.8 rebounds, and a staggering 3.3 blocks.

Cousin of former Breakers player Majok Majok, the 32-year-old will be familiar to Kiwi basketball fans after his stand-out performanaces for Lebanon against the Tall Blacks in two World Cup qualifying fixtures at the turn of the year. 

Of Sudanese heritage, the 6ft 10in big man was a second-round draft pick of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers in 2011 coming out of the University of Conneticut. He was waived without playing a game and has traversed the basketball globe since, including stops in Slovakia, Belarus, and China.

"Defensively he's a great shot blocker in all the leagues he’s been in," said assistant coach Mike Fitchett. "Offensively he’s a great screen and dive guy, as well as being able to shoot it out to the elbows."

Obekpa and Majok will back up NZ international Rob Loe at the centre position, while Henry will likely be first man off the bench at the two-guard spot for incumbent Corey Webster.

The trio will arrive in New Zealand on September 1 to join fellow overseas-based players RJ Hampton and Terry Li, who are both scheduled to touch down August 17. 

The Breakers will begin their quest for a fifth ANBL title against the Sydney Kings at Qudos Arena on Friday October 18.

NZ Breakers 2019/20 
PG:      RJ Hampton, Jarrad Weeks, Terry Li
SG:      Corey Webster, Sek Henry
SF:       Thomas Abercrombie (c), Jordan Ngatai, Scotty Hopson
PF:       Finn Delany, Tom Vodanovich
C:         Rob Loe, Chris Obekpa, Ater Majok



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