The Breakers have managed to fend off rival NBL clubs to retain the talents of star Will McDowell-White with the Australian Boomer turning down offers in Australia to stay with the Kiwi franchise.
The Breakers announced today McDowell-White has signed a new two-year deal with them, ignoring calls from commentators across the Tasman to return home to one of the nine Australian NBL clubs.
"Keeping Will in a Breakers shirt for another couple of seasons was our biggest goal this off-season," head coach Mody Maor said.
"He was a scorching hot commodity in the open market with several suitors and many great teams in the league willing to fork out a lot of cash for Will's services.
"However, the Breakers have been instrumental in turning him into the player he has become. I had my fingers crossed he would come back."
McDowell-White's rapid development is clear from his three seasons at the Breakers, with his season averages this year increasing in points [6.6 to 10.5 per game], assists [3.7 to 6.2 per game] and rebounds [3.1 to 5 per game].
Maor said McDowell-White's decision to stay in New Zealand with this year's runner-ups sends a statement to the rest of the competition.
"I think it sends an unambiguous message to every good young emerging player in the NBL that the Breakers is the place to be if you want to improve, grow, and reach your goals," he said.
"I can understand the complexity of an Australian leaving his country and moving to New Zealand. It makes sense to stay close to home where you feel comfortable.
"But there's added value coming to the Breakers; you might pay the price of leaving your home and travelling across the ditch, but you are rewarded by playing in the best environment in the league where your game grows."
With 12 spots available on the Breakers' roster, McDowell-White is the fifth player after Izayah Le'Afa, Tom Vodanovich, Cameron Gliddon, and Dan Fotu confirmed for next season.
The Breakers said a sixth player should be confirmed later this week, while the club is also in advanced talks to bring another NBA-bound Next Star sensation to Auckland.