The strength and depth of the 2021 Property Brokers Manawatu Jets roster has been bolstered significantly by the addition of young up-and-coming guard Nikau McCullough.
After a standout 2020 Sal's NBL Showdown where he starred for the EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls, McCullough has decided a shift south to the Manawatu Jets, citing the move as a great opportunity for his development and future in the game.
Jets Head Coach Tim McTamney was impressed with McCullough’s performances and the potential he showed during the Showdown. His game should be well suited to the high tempo, free flowing play that was a hallmark of last season’s Jets.
McTamney’s system of play, and the opportunity to learn under his guidance, was a major reason for McCullough making the move.
“The Jets played a great brand of basketball at the Showdown”, McCullough said. “It really allowed players to show their skill and develop, and, most importantly, the team really seemed to enjoy themselves. After talking to Coach (McTamney) I felt I could really develop here in my preferred position of point guard.”
McCullough’s long-standing friendship with Jets guard Jayden Bezzant was also a major factor in the decision to join the Palmerston North-based franchise. McTamney is counting on them developing good chemistry on the court as well, believing their individual skills and playing styles should complement each other extremely well.
“Nikau is a fine young fella and shows tremendous potential. He brings athleticism and real enthusiasm for playing good basketball, and he’ll be very important in getting us playing with the tempo I’m wanting,” McTamney said.
“I believe our guard rotation will be one of the strongest in the league this year, so don’t be surprised to see us playing with three guard line-ups. The thing that has impressed me the most after watching Nikau play, and talking with him, is his willingness to learn, grow and develop his game.”
The 23-year old is looking forward to getting started with his new teammates and is excited about the upcoming season.
“I can’t wait to get down to Palmerston North, meet up with my new team and then get to work. I know we have a great bunch of young guys assembled and we have something to prove in 2021. They tell me the Manawatu fans love their basketball – we plan to give them some basketball to be excited about.”
The Property Brokers Manawatu Jets begin their Sal’s NBL campaign in late April. Open trials are being conducted this weekend (23-24 January) at Fly Palmy Arena, where McTamney is hoping to unearth some new young talent.