The Australian NBL is set to start this week (January 10) with no less than 18 Kiwis expected to be involved across the nine teams, including nine who played in the 2020 Sal's NBL Showdown.
With basketball severely interrupted globally by Covid-19 for the best part of a year, the successful completion of the Showdown in Auckland during June and July helped remind recruiters of the talent available in New Zealand.
In a fairytale year for the Otago Nuggets, championship trio Jarrod Kenny, Jordan Ngatai and Jordan Hunt have all landed in far north Queensland with the Cairns Taipans.
"The Sal's NBL Showdown was a success on many levels, one of which was an opportunity for the players to be on court at a time when we enjoyed an uncluttered space, meaning the players enjoyed some extra attention from coaches and recruiters watching on," said League General Manager Justin Nelson, adding "I have no doubt the ability for our competition to deliver a season has helped a number of players pick up opportunities elsewhere and we're very pleased to see that."
The NZ Breakers top the list with seven Kiwis on its roster, while SEM Phoenix and the Taipans have three each. The only team without a New Zealander is Adelaide.
The Australian league is yet to reveal its full schedule for the season as the country continues to deal with Covid-19 outbreaks, but it is expected the season will finish in late May or early June, allowing a number of Kiwis to return home and play in the second half of the 2021 Sal's NBL season.
The Tall Blacks also have an Olympic Qualifying Tournament in to be played June (Serbia).
Australian NBL Kiwis
Cairns Taipans - Jarrod Kenny, Jordan Hunt, Jordan Ngatai.
Melbourne United - Shea Ili.
Brisbane Bullets - Tyrell Harrison.
The Hawks - Max Darling.
NZ Breakers - Corey Webster, Finn Delany, Isaac Davidson, Rob Loe, Taine Murray, Tai Webster, Tom Abercrombie.
Perth Wildcats - Taylor Britt.
SEM Phoenix - Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa, Reuben Te Rangi, Yanni Wetzell.
Sydney Kings - Tom Vodanovich.