Basketball: NZ Breakers coach Dan Shamir shopping for Kiwi hoops talent at NBL Showdown

Hiding behind the oncourt hustle and bustle at the NBL Showdown is NZ Breakers coach Dan Shamir.

Parked up at one end of the stadium, he has his legs outstretched on a bench seat in front of him and a laptop sitting on his lap.

He flicks between the box score of a match going on in front of him and a spreadsheet - presumably taking notes on the players on court.

This is all part of the Australian NBL off-season for Shamir, who is making the most of having live basketball on his doorstep.

Several players on court have ANBL experience, so this is a good chance to see how they're tracking, while gauging other players he may not have heard about, as he continues to build his squad for the upcoming season.

"I still have a very - maybe surprising - long list of players that are on our radar," Shamir tells Newshub. "In all honesty, we have a list of maybe 10-12 players.

"Obviously, Tom Vodanovich, Jordan Ngatai, Hyrum Harris... these are legit players, but I'm talking about other people that we didn't really consider.

"We have a pretty long list of players that can have a future with us."

Otago Nuggets forward Jordan Ngatai is no stranger to the Breakers.
Otago Nuggets forward Jordan Ngatai is no stranger to the Breakers. Photo credit: Photosport

While he's impressed with what he's seen, Shamir concedes there are limited spots available on the Breakers roster.

As well as the five players contracted before the NBL began, just last week they added Tall Black guard Tai Webster and Aussie forward Daniel Trist, along with development player Kyrin Galloway.

Factoring two import spots into the equation, there are only one or two vacancies remaining.

But Shamir says that shouldn’t deter those Aussie NBL hopefuls playing in the New Zealand competition. 

"Opportunities in our business don't always come as a guaranteed contract for three years," he says.

"Sometimes you get in the building and start training and make yourself known, and show everybody you belong and can play at this level.

"Then an opportunity is given, then things happen. Definitely, there are a few names and a few players over here that can train with us and can maybe join us in the future." Shamir says.

But the Breakers aren't the only ones watching on with interest.

"There are probably 5-6 names that we constantly hear that are being talked about, which is exciting," NBL general manager Justin Nelson tells Newshub. "But there's not an ANBL team that isn't watching on right now."

ANBL teams aren't the only ones watching either. With some games airing on ESPN, some of the country's younger talent can be seen by US college coaches.

That's providing a unique opportunity for those hoping for a basketball scholarship, much like Tall Blacks and Breakers legend Kirk Penney did.

"I think we've got some pretty decent young talent right now, so for them to be exposed and be able to play is very special." says Penney, who spent last season on the University of Virginia development staff.

But Shamir has the advantage of seeing things those watching overseas can't.

"The physical tools are very important, that's why I like to sit on the floor and close to the action.

"When you're on the court, you can really see the body and the body language, and how the player gets from point A to point B.

"You can really make mistakes if you're just learning on film. It happened to me in the past, where I brought someone in just from film and it turned out he's not physical enough."

Shamir's courtside presence has put the Breakers in the box seat to scoop up the best Kiwi talent that's emerged from the coronavirus-revamped league.