Live updates: Sal's NBL Showdown draft

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9:00pm - Thanks for joining us for the NBL draft. 

Here's a quick look at who's landed where.

Otago Nuggets - Jordan Ngatai, Jarrod Kenny, Jordan Hunt, Kane Keil, Josh Aitcheson, Benoit Hayman, Darcy Knox, Richie Rodger, Sam Rua, Akiva McBirney-Griffin, Jack Andrew, Matthew Bardsley

Taranaki Mountainairs - Derone Raukawa, Marcel Jones, Shane Temara, Tai Wynyard, Francis Mulvihill, Kenneth Tuffin, Denhym Brooke, Will Heather, Oscar Robertson, Carlin Davison, Baxter Fenwick

Manawatu Jets - Tom Vodanovich, Hyrum Harris, Jayden Bezzant, Taane Samuel, Nick Fee, Haize Walker, Tia Temata-Frost, Ashton McQueen, Matangirei Hipango, Josiah Laracy, Nick Power, Kalib Mullins

Nelson Giants - Mika Vukona, Mike Karena, Dane Brooks, Tom Ingham, Josh Bloxham, Nick Trathen, Riley Bensemann, Tysxun Aiolupotea, Zeb Lovell, Thane O’Leary, Theo Johnson, Tommy Garguilo

Canterbury Rams - Jack Salt, Taylor Britt, Joe Cook-Green, Alex Talma, Sam Smith, Toby Gilloly, Jack Exeter, Tom Cowie, Thomas Webley, Mac Stodart, Ben Carlile-Smith, Mason Whittaker

Franklin Bulls - Dominique Kelman-Poto, Sam Timmins, Everard Bartlett, Jackson Stubbins, Isaac Davidson, Nick Barrow, Joel Vaiangina, Nikau McCullough, Connor Woodbridge, Joe Reddish, Chris McIntosh, Dru-Leo Leusogi-Ape

Auckland Huskies - Izayah Mauriahoohoo Leafa, Tohi Smith Milner, Leon Henry, Taine Murray, Rasheed Al-Kaleem, Tinashe Matambanadzo, Ana Haku, Johnny Fesolai, Marvin Williams-Dunn, Jaylen Gerrand, Nick Brophy, Nathan Wilson

Remember the league starts on June 23 at Auckland's Waitakere Trusts Stadium. Tickets are now on sale. 

Round 12

  1. Auckland Huskies - Nathan Wilson
  2. Franklin Bulls - Dru-Leo Leusogi-Ape
  3. Canterbury Rams - Mason Whittaker
  4. Nelson Giants - Tommy Garguilo
  5. Manawatu Jets - Kalib Mullins
  6. Taranaki Mountainairs - Baxter Fenwick
  7. Otago Nuggets - Matthew Bardsley

Round 11

  1. Otago Nuggets - Jack Andrew
  2. Taranaki Mountainairs - Carlin Davison
  3. Manawatu Jets - Nick Power
  4. Nelson Giants - Theo Johnson
  5. Canterbury Rams - Ben Carlile-Smith
  6. Franklin Bulls - Chris McIntosh
  7. Auckland Huskies - Nick Brophy

Round 10

  1. Auckland Huskies - Jaylen Gerrand
  2. Franklin Bulls - Joe Reddish
  3. Canterbury Rams - Mac Stodart
  4. Nelson Giants - Thane O’Leary
  5. Manawatu Jets - Josiah Laracy
  6. Taranaki Mountainairs - Oscar Robertson
  7. Otago Nuggets - Akiva McBirney-Griffin

8:41pm - No, not THAT Oscar Robertson. Unlike the NBA legend, this one is a red-headed white guy, but he impressed at times with Taranaki last year.

Round Nine

  1. Otago Nuggets - Sam Rua
  2. Taranaki Mountainairs - Will Heather
  3. Manawatu Jets - Matangirei Hipango
  4. Nelson Giants - Zeb Lovell
  5. Canterbury Rams - Thomas Webley
  6. Franklin Bulls - Connor Woodbridge
  7. Auckland Huskies - Marvin Williams-Dunn

Round Eight

  1. Auckland Huskies - Johnny Fesolai
  2. Franklin Bulls - Nikau McCullough
  3. Canterbury Rams - Tom Cowie
  4. Nelson Giants - Tysxun Aiolupotea
  5. Manawatu Jets - Ashton McQueen
  6. Taranaki Mountainairs - Denhym Brooke
  7. Otago Nuggets - Richie Rodger

Round Seven

  1. Otago Nuggets - Darcy Knox
  2. Taranaki Mountainairs - Kenneth Tuffin
  3. Manawatu Jets - Tia Temata-Frost
  4. Nelson Giants - Riley Bensemann
  5. Canterbury Rams - Jack Exeter
  6. Franklin Bulls - Joel Vaiangina
  7. Auckland Huskies - Ana Haku

8:02pm - Tia Temata-Frost loomed as the Jets co-captain this season and has been part of that programme for years.

Canterbury make their first live pick of the night - all their previous rounds were pre-selections - but keep the faith in another local product.

Round Six

  1. Auckland Huskies - Tinashe Matambanadzo
  2. Franklin Bulls - Nick Barrow
  3. Canterbury Rams - Toby Gilloly
  4. Nelson Giants - Nick Trathen
  5. Manawatu Jets - Haize Walker
  6. Taranaki Mountainairs - Francis Mulvihill
  7. Otago Nuggets - Benoit Hayman

7:55pm - Benoit Hayman is a sleeper for the Nuggets. He has Swiss/Kiwi heritage and has played in the Swiss first division.

7:15pm - Casting an eye over the first five rounds, here are some of the highlights:

  • Otago Nuggets selected former Wellington Saints forward Jordan Ngatai with the first pick, with Taranaki Mountainairs and Manawatu Jets taking guard Derone Raukawa and forward Tom Vodanovich next.
  • Tall Blacks veteran Jarrod Kenny - one of the best defenders in NZ hoops - fell to No.14 and was scooped up by Otago.
  • The new crosstown rivalry between expansion teams Franklin Bulls and Auckland Huskies is already heated up, with the Bulls taking veteran guard Everard Bartlett with third pick, but the Huskies stealing contracted forward Leon Henry from under their noses.
  • Taranaki took former junior star Tai Wynyard with their fifth pick, hoping he could resurrect a career that once seemed head for the NBA.
  • Nelson Giants recalled former Tall Blacks guard Josh Bloxham from the wilderness with their fifth pick. 
  • Former Breakers coach Kevin Braswell grabs US-born Rasheed Al-Kaalem with the fifth pick for Huskies. Al-Kaalem serves as player development manager at the Breakers.

7:09pm - Welcome back to our coverage of rounds 6-12. We won't try to keep up with the picks name-by-name, but will keep you up to date with each pick and highlight some of the significant selections as they happen.


6:04pm - Rejoin us at 7pm, as we summarise the remaining rounds of the Sal's NBL Showdown draft.

5:55pm - That's the end of the first five rounds and probably most of the best-known names in the draft.

Here's how the teams stack up so far...

Otago Nuggets - Jordan Ngatai, Jarrod Kenny, Jordan Hunt, Kane Keil & Josh Aitcheson

Taranaki Mountainairs - Derone Raukawa, Marcel Jones, Shane Temara & Tai Wynyard

Manawatu Jets - Tom Vodanovich, Hyrum Harris, Jayden Bezzant, Taane Samuel & Nick Fee

Nelson Giants - Mika Vukona, Mike Karena, Dane Brooks, Tom Ingham & Josh Bloxham

Canterbury Rams - Jack Salt, Taylor Britt, Joe Cook-Green, Alex Talma & Sam Smith

Franklin Bulls - Dominique Kelman-Poto, Sam Timmins, Everard Bartlett, Jackson Stubbins & Isaac Davidson

Auckland Huskies - Izayah Mauriahoohoo Leafa, Tohi Smith Milner, Leon Henry, Taine Murray & Rasheed Al-Kaleem

Round Five

  1. Otago Nuggets - Josh Aitcheson
  2. Taranaki Mountainairs - Mitch Dance
  3. Manawatu Jets - Nick Fee
  4. Nelson Giants - Josh Bloxham
  5. Canterbury Rams - Sam Smith
  6. Franklin Bulls - Isaac Davidson
  7. Auckland Huskies - Rasheed Al-Kaleem

5:52pm - Huskies have picked up US-born guard Rasheed Al-Kaleem, who is currently director of player development at the NZ Breakers. He played at Florida University with Breakers general manager Matt Walsh.

5:50pm - Bulls take forward Isaac Davidson, brother of Tall Ferns star Penina Davidson. He's also returning from US college.

5:48pm - Manawatu has guard Nick Fee, while Nelson pre-select former Tall Blacks guard Josh Bloxham. Canterbury take forward Sam Smith.

5:47pm - Otago have taken local lad Josh Aticheson, who previously played for Canterbury and Southland. Mitch Dance is headed to Taranaki, after a season with Hawke's Bay last year.

Round Four

  1. Auckland Huskies - Taine Murray
  2. Franklin Bulls - Jackson Stubbins
  3. Canterbury Rams - Alex Talma
  4. Nelson Giants - Tom Ingham
  5. Manawatu Jets - Taane Samuel
  6. Taranaki Mountainairs - Tai Wynyard
  7. Otago Nuggets - Kane Keil

5:44pm - Tai Wynyard will go to Taranaki. He's a rough diamond, supposedly the next Steven Adams, but never really kicked on at Kentucky University.

Otago Nuggets have taken guard Kane Keil, who has finished college stint in the United States.

5:40pm - Canterbury, Nelson and Manawatu have pre-selected Alex Talma, Tom Ingham and Taane Samuel respectively. All those players have logged minutes with those teams previously.

Samuel is a big power forward who can throw down. 

5:37pm - Franklin Bulls pick up point guard Jackson Stubbins, who previously turned out for Manawatu Jets. 

5:35pm - Huskies pick up Taine Murray, 18, with their back-to-back pick in the fourth round. In basketball parlance, he be athlete!

Round Three

  1. Otago Nuggets - Jordan Hunt
  2. Taranaki Mountainairs - Shane Temara
  3. Manawatu Jets - Jayden Bezzant
  4. Nelson Giants - Dane Brooks
  5. Canterbury Rams - Joe Cook-Green
  6. Franklin Bulls - Everard Bartlett
  7. Auckland Huskies - Leon Henry

5:33pm - Huskies have stolen former Tall Black/ Breakers forward Leon Henry off the Bulls. He was contracted to Franklin, but has slipped low enough for their rivals to sneak in.

There's a bit of crosstown rivalry already. 

5:31pm - Bulls take veteran guard Everard Bartlett, who has been a Tall Black, played Aussie league and even won an ANBL slam dunk title. He's another steal at this stage. 

5:29pm - Canterbury confirm their contract with guard Joe Cook-Green, who came through the Otago system and spent time at college in the United States.

5:27pm - Nelson have stolen Dane Brooks from the Mountainairs. He had a breakout year with Taranaki last year and will likely play small forward.

5:25pm - Jayden Bezzant is headed to Manawatu. He's a young guy that plays guard, a former Junior Tall Black from St John's College in Hamilton.

5:22pm - Nuggets again and they take Jordan Hunt from Wellington, while the Mountainairs take Shane Temara, who previously played for Manawatu last year.

Round Two

  1. Auckland Huskies - Tohi Smith Milner
  2. Franklin Bulls - Sam Timmins
  3. Canterbury Rams - Taylor Britt
  4. Nelson Giants - Mike Karena
  5. Manawatu Jets - Hyrum Harris
  6. Taranaki Mountainairs - Marcel Jones
  7. Otago Nuggets - Jarrod Kenny

5:21pm - Otago pick up veteran Tall Blacks guard Jarrod Kenny - a great pick-up at this spot.

He's probably the best defensive guard in the country.

5:20pm - Taranaki take US-born Marcel Jones, who has played across the world, but is also a naturalised Kiwi and eligible for Tall Blacks selection.

5:18pm - Manawatu take small forward Hyrum Harris, who previously played for Southland and enjoyed a stint in the Aussie league with Illawarra Hawks.

5:15pm - The draft is proceeding at pace, with Huskies taking Tohi Smith Milner, who has already shown his value with the Tall Blacks and Melbourne United.

Franklin confirm their contract with centre Sam Timmins, Rams take Taylor Britt, who was a development player with Perth Wildcats last summer, while forward Mike Karena will return to Nelson, where he came through the development system.

Round One

  1. Otago Nuggets - Jordan Ngatai
  2. Taranaki Mountainairs - Derone Raukawa
  3. Manawatu Jets - Tom Vodanovich
  4. Nelson Giants - Mika Vukona
  5. Canterbury Rams - Jack Salt
  6. Franklin Bulls - Dominique Kelman-Poto
  7. Auckland Huskies - Izayah Mauriahoohoo Leafa

5:12pm - Expansion team Franklin Bulls have also confirmed their previous contract with forward Dominique Kelman-Poto, while the Auckland Huskies snapped up Izayah Mauriahoohoo Leafa, one of our youngest ever Tall Blacks and returning from a US scholarship.

5:10pm - Canterbury has centre Jack Salt at the fifth pick. He had already signed a contract with the Rams for this year, after capturing an NCAA title with University of Virigina and playing a season in Poland.

He desperately wants to earn a contract with the Breakers.

5:08pm - Predictably, Nelson Giants have chosen Tall Blacks legend Mika Vukona, who has played most of his career for that team. He's returning from Brisbane Bullets to earn another contract in the Aussie league.

5:07pm - Taranaki Mountainairs have picked up point guard Derone Raukawa, who has also played for his country and previously played for Southland sharks. 

5:05pm - Nuggets have gone with forward Jordan Ngatai - Tall Black, NZ Breakers. He played for Wellington Saints last year, he's athletic and can hit the three.

5pm - Nuggets are on the clock.

They haven't tried to claim homegrown stars Sam Timmins and Joe Cook-Green, who have already signed contracts with Franklin Bulls and Canterbury Rams respectively.

Otago will likely have to chose from those players without existing affiliations - Tom Vodanovich, Hyrum Harris, Derone Raukawa and Everard Bartlett are probably the biggest names available.


Kia ora, good evening and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the Sal's NBL Showdown Draft - the first of its kind in NZ sport.

After coronavirus threatened to end the 2020 National Basketball League before it began, general manager Justin Nelson has revamped the format, introducing a centrally based, competition, with talent distributed across seven teams via tonight's draft.

The draft is based on the annual NBA recruitment of young college and foreign talent, and has attracted more than 450 candidates of varying ability.

Each team must pick 12 players on their rosters and have the opportunity to 'pre-select' two marquee players, based on existing ties to those organisations. Some were already contracted for this season, while others have either played for those NBL teams previously or were developed through local junior ranks.

After pre-selections, Otago Nuggets have been deemed most needy and awarded the first pick in the draft, with forwards Tom Vodanovich and Hyrum Harris, and guards Derone Raukawa and Everard Bartlett looming as the top free agents available.

The draft begins at 5pm.

NBL draft darkhorse hoping cream rises to top

New Zealand Basketball League boss Justin Nelson is lauding the inaugural player draft as a major success.

By the time registrations closed on Friday night, more than 500 people had signed up, including 19 current and former Tall Blacks.

But it's also attracted people from all walks of life, including media personalities, high schoolers, up-and-coming talent and business owners.

Giapo Grazioli is one of them.

The Italian native is the owner of the successful boutique ice cream parlour Giapo in central Auckland.

Hoops fan Giapo Grazioli at play and work
Hoops fan Giapo Grazioli at play and work. Photo credit: Newshub.

It's won many awards, but now he wants a crack at the NBL.

"Even though I'm not a kid anymore, I'm a kid at heart, I still want to play," he tells Newshub.

"I love the game."

He's played the game since a kid with his family, but up until now, playing in New Zealand's national league had been a long shot.

The draft has now made that dream a reality and the 41-year-old guard thinks he brings plenty to the table.

"Experience, understanding the positions and being a team player" are his strengths.

"I play for the team, put the ego aside, especially because of my age. 

"On the other hand, I feel as strong as ever and I'm ready."

The sheer number of registrations has created excitement and hype that Nelson believes has never been seen before.

Nelson expects to cut the number to just over 400 before Thursday night's draft.

"There are draft parties being set up across the country," Nelson says. "Who would have thought we're holding basketball draft parties here in New Zealand. 

"[The draft's] been a fascination for the Tall Blacks players, as well as those players just living the dream, and wanting to get out there and have a chance to get drafted."

Grazioli is proof of that excitement and said he noticed it around the basketball community.

"In every gym I go to, it's the [talk] of the town," he says. "Did you register? Did you apply?

"I think [the draft is] phenomenal you know."

Seven teams will select 12 players each and when asked what he thought his chances were, Grazioli isn't sure, but he is sure about one thing.

"I would love every kid who has a dream to go before me," he says. "Once everyone else has been picked, if there is a spot, I come after." 

If he is one of the lucky 84 that get selected, the business owner says he'll celebrate with an NBL-themed ice cream.

That's something even non-basketballers could sign up for.

Live updates: Sal's NBL Showdown draft