Joy over ‘NBA qual­ity’ sign­ings

Manawatu Standard - - SPORT - BAS­KET­BALL By Daniel Richardson sport@msl.co.nz

THE Manawatu Jets have landed two huge sign­ings for the up­com­ing sea­son which could see them be­come con­tenders for the play­offs.

Richard Jeter, a 1.98m guard, and Ron­ald Allen, a 2.08m power for­ward, have signed with the fran­chise on the back of Ryan Weisen­berg’s con­fir­ma­tion as head coach.

Jeter, 29, will bring a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence to the side hav­ing be­ing drafted by the LA Lak­ers in 2003 be­fore be­ing traded to the Mem­phis Griz­zlies, al­though he never played an NBA game.

For the last seven years he has played in Europe – in Rus­sia, Ukraine and the Czech Repub­lic.

Allen is a 25-year-old who has a try­out with the Lak­ers lined up for next sum­mer.

Weisen­berg is likely to run an LA Lak­ers-style of­fence with the Jets and Allen wants the chance to play in that sys­tem be­fore he has the trial.

Manawatu Jets chair­man Ricky Pene said they were great sign­ings to start a ros­ter around.

‘‘When we at­tracted a qual­ity coach, with his back­ground and re­cruit­ing we knew he would have good con­tacts,’’ Pene said.

‘‘I don’t think we would have ex­pected to have NBA qual­ity play­ers in his first round of im­ports to come to New Zealand. ‘‘We are ab­so­lutely ec­static.’’ Jeter is the type of player the Jets can build their of­fence around; he is a solid out­side shooter and has a strong midrange jump shot.

He has been a pro­lific scorer in the leagues he has played in and his abil­ity to shoot the three is some­thing the side missed dearly last sea­son.

Jeter will play mostly at shoot­ing guard but will fill in some min­utes at point to fit in with Weisen­berg’s sys­tem.

Allen’s pres­ence in the post will be a huge as­set to the side and he av­er­aged 20 re­bounds per game in the Costa Ri­can league where he had been play­ing.

His size is rare in the NBL too and he’s played col­lege bas­ket­ball in the United States at Xavier and the Uni­ver­sity of Cincin­nati, as well as in the NBA de­vel­op­ment league.

With the ink barely dry on their con­tracts the re­cruit­ment drive now moves to get­ting some Kiwi play­ers on board.

‘‘ Im­ports don’t win this com­pe­ti­tion. In New Zealand your Ki­wis do but in terms of im­ports th­ese guys are go­ing to bring it to the ta­ble,’’ Pene said.

Last sea­son’s cap­tain Kaine Hokianga has agreed to terms and will sign in the com­ing days as will Paul Bris­tol and Piers Finch.

The re­cruit­ment of a point guard will be at the top of the list for the side to give Jeter some qual­ity ball to score with, but the Jets could give ex­tended min­utes to Bris­tol who im­pressed in patches last year. ‘‘ Ob­vi­ously we’d want two qual­ity point guards to run that sys­tem.

‘‘There’s an aw­ful lot of work go­ing on at the mo­ment and the good ones come with quite a price tag.’’

The im­ports will be avail­able for the pre-sea­son Blitz tour­na­ment on Fe­bru­ary 21.

McDon­ald’s have signed as the nam­ing rights spon­sor for the Jets. Pene said the fran­chise had en­joyed a strong part­ner­ship with the brand that they were keen to con­tinue.

Richard Jeter

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