The Auckland Huskies are delighted to announce the signing of young Tall Black Jackson Smyth for the upcoming Sal’s NBL season.

Jackson was amongst ten Tall Blacks debutants that took on Australia in Cairns last Saturday. At just 18 years, 5 months and 23 days Jackson became the 13th youngest player to wear the senior national colours. Despite the loss to the Boomers Jackson still relished the chance to wear the black singlet.

“With NBL players not being released it was a great opportunity for me to play at an international level,” said Jackson.

“I jumped at the chance when I got approached by Pero (Cameron) to go into the training camp on the Gold Coast. To make the final cut from the 18 attending the camp was awesome.

It was a double celebration for the Smyth family with dad Hayden, a former Tall Black himself, on the side-line as the Tall Blacks manager.

“My dad and Pero played together back in New Zealand and needing an Australian based manager he stepped up,” added Jackson.

Huskies Head Coach Aaron Young is delighted for his new signing.

“By getting a taste of that experience it should motivate him to do it again and represent New Zealand again in the future.”  

The combo guard has grown up in Sydney playing for the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles club. Last season he led the Sea Eagles scoring in the highly competitive Waratah Youth League averaging 15.2 points per game.

Following the game in Cairns Jackson now holds the fairly unique distinction of playing for the New Zealand senior team before an age group team.

“Last year I was selected squad to play at the 2020 FIBA Under 18 Asia Championships in India but unfortunately that tournament was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic,” Jackson said.

Jackson graduated from Redlands Grammar School, Sydney last year and will play for the Huskies as an amateur in order to protect his eligibility to pursue a college basketball scholarship in the States. 

“I want to focus on the Huskies now, playing and really developing as a player, so that I can make an impact at college level as I have a few schools have shown interest.

“I like to play as hard as I can and shoot the ball well. I think my strength is being vocal, shooting the three-ball, being aggressive and being ready for anything.

“I will fly out of Sydney on the 18th March, spend two weeks in quarantine and then be ready to go.”

Aaron Young is looking forward to Jackson’s arrival next month. 

“Jackson has been in our Junior Tall Blacks programme for the past three years, I’ve always been really impressed with his game, his poise and how he can shoot. He has stood out at camps in the way that he controls the game.

“In New Zealand we don’t have a lot of combo guard that can really shoot the ball consistently.

“When I got the job with the Huskies I reached out to Jackson to see what he was up to and fortunately he was interested and so was his dad Hayden. 

“So I’m really excited to have him on board and I think he is going to be a really good piece for us.”

Aaron is keen to help Jackson fulfil his college aspirations.

“I’ve told Jackson I will help him develop and reach out to contacts in the States.

“As a coach and a club I think that’s one of the things the Huskies want to stand for, helping guys get to the States and get to that next level and Jackson is one of a number of players we want to help pursue college careers. 

“There is no better way to do that than play in the New Zealand NBL, getting exposure on ESPN and playing at a good level.”

Jackson joins Nick Barrow, Chris McIntosh, fellow Tall Black Tom Vodanovich and American guard Armoni Brooks on the Huskies team with more player signings to be announced in the near future.

The Huskies begin their 2021 NBL campaign with a trip down the southern motorway on Sunday April 25th to take on the Franklin Bulls.

The Huskies first home game will be on Friday April 30th against Manawatu Jets at Eventfinda Stadium. You can purchase your 2021 membership today at aucklandhuskies.co.nz/2021-memberships