The Property Brokers, See Me Media Manawatu Jets have started their player announcements with a bang, unveiling import Elijah Minnie, along with locals Tia Temata-Frost, Jackson Stubbins and Theo Johnson.
The Jets first import signing has head coach, Tim McTamney, quietly excited. Elijah Minnie is a 6’9 (2.06m) forward from Monessen, Pennsylvania, just a short drive from Pittsburgh.
“Elijah is young, incredibly athletic and displays a skill set that will undoubtedly take him a long way in the game. As a standout performer at NCAA Division I college, Eastern Michigan University, Elijah was named on the Julius Erving Watchlist, which identifies the best young small forwards in the US. I have now watched hours of game-film of him and he impresses me even more the more I see of him. After talking with him I know we are getting a young man of outstanding character, as he develops and learns the pro-game he will make a huge impact in the NBL.” - Coach Tim McTamney.
Minnie will be entering his first season as a professional and thinks New Zealand is a great place to begin his career.
“I am looking forward to starting my career in a well-respected league and learning as much as I can from the experience. Coach has said we have a great group of young guys this season and I can’t wait to meet them and get to work with them. I haven’t heard a great deal about New Zealand, so I am looking forward to embracing a whole new country and learning about the culture while I am there.” - Elijah Minnie.
McTamney is impressed with Elijah’s versatility as a player. Although the size of a power forward and even taller than some centres in the NBL, Elijah moves and plays with a fluidity that will cause genuine problems for his opponents.
“We are expecting to play Elijah at both forward positions and he will even see some time at centre in small, fast line-ups. He will enjoy playing with the freedom to use all of his skill sets, which our system not only allows, but actively encourages.” - Coach Tim McTamney.
Elijah comes from a large family, including two younger brothers and a baby sister, his family is extremely important to him. His arrival in Palmerston North in early April will see him welcomed into a new family and McTamney knows the Manawatu Jets community will make him feel right at home immediately. Aside from basketball, Elijah loves eating and also has a real interest in astronomy and astrophysics. Playing in the southern hemisphere is going to give him a brand new set of stars to gaze. One thing is for certain, there will be people all over the Manawatu searching for Elijah Minnie on YouTube after reading this article. McTamney refuses to give away too much but clearly looks very happy with the introduction of Elijah Minnie, and equally pleased about the remaining two import signings soon to be announced.
“Tia showed last year that he was committed to developing as a player and always led by example in his approach. He embraced, more than anyone else, the need for continual improvement. Tia is part of a family legacy in this town. His father, Joe Frost, has given selflessly, arguably more than anyone, to basketball in the region over four decades. Tia is continuing in the same fashion. He is a man of true character and embodies our team values. I have made Tia co-captain of the 2020 team, his loyalty and selfless approach to the Manawatu is second to none.” - Coach Tim McTamney.
“I feel privileged to have the opportunity to continue with the Manawatu Jets in 2020 and be able to contribute to the growth and development of basketball in our region. I am honoured that coach has seen me fit to lead the team as co-captain. I will do everything I can to lead by example, by competing and doing whatever the team needs.” - Tia Temata-Frost
JACKSON STUBBINS (pictured)
“Before any mention is made of his basketball ability, it needs to be said that Jackson is a young man who exhibits incredible loyalty to his team mates, is exceptionally honest in his effort and in his commitment to be better and is the most selfless player I have had the pleasure of coaching. His play on court, and his value to the culture of the Jets franchise, are byproducts of the character traits he possesses.” - Coach Tim McTamney.
“Tim (McTamney) was the primary reason I wanted to return to the Jets for my second season. He has invested a lot of time into my development, and has helped me develop confidence in my own ability, something I will be forever grateful for. It feels great to be a part of an organisation that is willing to make changes in order to create a great culture and will give young players the chance to contribute. The Manawatu Jets are heading in the right direction. Even though we are going to be extremely young and possibly not highly regarded in the league, we will just commit to getting better every day, fighting for every possession like it is our last and showing on court what playing this game means to us. Who knows what we can achieve, but I am expecting the journey to be hugely enjoyable.” - Jackson Stubbins.
“Theo is an athletic young man and exceptionally coachable. More importantly he is of tremendous character and will add a great deal to the Jets organisation on and off the court.” - Coach Tim McTamney.
“Last year we went unbeaten with Saints but some of our toughest games were against the Jets. We always knew we were going to be in a dog-fight with them. It is going to be fun playing for coach again in the green and white, going out every week ready to take on anyone, with nothing to lose and everything to prove." - Theo Johnson.
Photo credit: PhotosportNZ