Photo by: Reagen Butler
The Sky Tower Auckland Huskies are delighted to announce the signing of promising forward Kiani Saxon for the upcoming Sal’s NBL season.
Having been a Development Player in 2020, Kiani has been elevated to a full roster position for the 2021 campaign and will play for the Huskies as an amateur in order to protect his eligibility to undertake a college basketball scholarship in the States.
The 6’8” forward, who graduated from Liston College in 2019 began playing basketball in primary school but admits rugby was his first love.
“One of my mum’s friends was the manager of a team and said we could do with someone tall like you. They said I should carry on but at the time I was into rugby so only joined in reluctantly.”
Since those early days Kiani has made steady progress through Waitakere West age-group teams, Harbour U19’s and the Liston College programme.
Kiani feels privileged to have had help from a number of outstanding junior coaches.
“Shawn Nance was my first reps coach and his passion for basketball was infectious.”
Kiani was also coached by the late Tai Upoko and Doe Williams.
“They were both great guys who gave me a big nudge in terms of my development as a player and a person.
“I was also extremely lucky to have Jason ??? as a rep coach and a school coach at Liston College.”
Huskies Head Coach Aaron Young has been impressed with Kiani’s development.
“I’ve enjoyed working with Kiani and witnessing his recent progress, he has trained hard and earned a spot on the roster..
“I’m excited with what the future holds for Kiani and I’m looking forward to helping him improve to not only help the Huskies but also prepare him for a collegiate career.”
In August Kiani will embark on a scholarship at Louisiana State University Eunice to play under Coach Byron Sparks for the highly successful Bengals.
“He’s got international size and length. He will largely play as a forward for us but in the long term he may well play as a wing. In New Zealand we don’t have an abundance of players with his physical tools,” enthused Aaron.
Kiani believes that being a development player for the Huskies during the NBL Showdown was a good learning experience.
“Being in that environment made me want to pursue basketball more seriously. And along with the trip to the States with the Harbour U19 team it has moved me closer to where I want to be.
“Playing with the Huskies against bigger bodies, at a faster pace, and with more knowledgeable players is helping me prepare for college.
“Getting some playing time during the season would be great but at this stage I just want to help the team out as much as I can,” added Kiani.
Aaron Young believes his young forward has a bright future.
“As his confidence grows I think he can become a special player.”
Kiani joins Brook Ruscoe, Nick Barrow, Tom Vodanovich, Reuben Fitzgerald, Chris McIntosh, Sean Murphy, Jackson Smyth 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 Sky Tower Auckland Huskies first home game will be on Friday April 30th against Manawatu Jets at Eventfinda Stadium. You can purchase your Season Membership to see Brook and the rest of the Sky Tower Auckland Huskies in action by clicking here.