Mike Pero Nelson Giants captain and stalwart, Sam Dempster, has signed on for his 13th season with the Giants, but will return in a new role. In addition to his playing duties, Dempster will come on board as Assistant Coach for the 2021 Sal’s NBL season.
After missing the 2020 Sal’s NBL Showdown due to work commitments, Dempster is raring to get back onto the floor for the Giants.
“Missing the Showdown last year was really disappointing, but I had to put my family first and make sure I managed my work commitments. It was great to watch the local guys perform with the extra opportunities they got up there, and we should be a stronger team for it.”
Head Coach Michael Fitchett has taken the opportunity to utilise Dempster’s experience, basketball IQ and leadership abilities and brought him onto the coaching staff.
“Sam is a true veteran of this league and has started his coaching journey through coaching previously at Nayland College and now at Nelson College. Sam has a bright future in the coaching game, so it makes sense for me to take advantage of that skill set.”
Dempster is looking forward to the new challenge.
“I have enjoyed coaching the college teams for the past few years and want to make coaching my profession full time - this is a great step along the way. Obviously, being comfortable with the players and Mike should help the transition. It also means I need to be right on top of my own game.
"If I’m going to be pulling guys up on things, I need to make sure I’m doing the right thing all the time, too.”
In addition to his playing role with the Giants, Dempster works as a basketball coach (Nelson College) and sports co-ordinator (Hampden Street School) in the Nelson community.
The Giants will announce further player signings in the near future, but are set to field a very much a home-grown squad in their 40th NBL season.
“To be able to play with a group of guys who are mostly born and bred Nelsonians is pretty special, especially because we are celebrating our 40th season in the NBL and are the only club to have been in the league every year. To have played in almost a third of those seasons is cool for a Nelson kid,” Dempster added.
The Giants' season kicks off on Monday April 26, with a home game against perennial title contenders, the SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks.