[phpwiki]NZ Breakers

Team Info

 Founded          2004
 Stadium          The Breakerdome North Shore Events Centre
 Capacity         4,148
 Owner	          Paul Blackwell
 Ceo	          Richard Clarke
 Coach	          Dean Vickerman
 Championships    2011, 2012, 2013

Rosters

 2014-15 NZ Roster
 2013-14 NZ Roster
 2012-13 NZ Roster

All Stars

 Kirk Penney 2008
 Cedric Jackson 2013
 Thomas Abercrombie 2013
 Carlos Powell 2007
 Ben Pepper 2007

Retired Jerseys

 #32 - Paul Henare

Team Game Records

 Most points in a game       50, Carlos Powell - 17/12/06
 3 Pointers made in a game    9, Kirk Penney - 21/01/10
 Most Assists in a game      13, Kevin Braswell - 20/02/11
 Most Blocks in a game        5, Ben Pepper - 02/10/05
 Most Steals in a game        8, Dillon Boucher - 01/10/03
 Most Rebounds in a game     20, Ben Pepper - 06/01/06

Team All Time Leaders

 Games Played              250  Paul Henare
 Points                    2517 Kirk Penney
 Three Pointers Made       360  Kirk Penney
 Three Pointers Attempted  877  Kirk Penney
 Assists                   902  Paul Henare
 Blocks                    105  Ben Pepper
 Steals                    226  Dillon Boucher
 Rebounds                  935  Ben Pepper

Club History

Start of a club

After a 111-110 victory over the Adelaide 36ers in the first ever regular season match, the Breakers went on to lose ten of their next eleven games to languish near the bottom of the NBL ladder. The inaugural coach, Jeff Green, was subsequently fired and succeeded by Frank Arsego, who was initially assistant coach.

The addition of former MSU star Mike Chappell breathed new life into the Breakers season. After languishing with a 2-10 record, the Breakers experienced a mid-season resurgence, capped off by a five-match winning streak towards the end of the season which gave them a realistic shot of qualifying for the playoffs. Needing to win both of their final games in the final week of the regular season to claim a playoff berth, the Breakers lost both, to end equal ninth (officially tenth).

Before the start of the 2004-05 season Phill Jones left the Breakers despite a year still being left on his contract to play in Italy. The Breakers signed Shawn Redhage after the American's stellar play in SEABL. Redhage started his NBL career well with an eye-opening 27-point performance in his debut match, but was later cut after a series of poor performances. Redhage later made the Breakers regret their decision, signing with the Perth Wildcats, becoming one of the best players in the NBL, and representing Australia at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

The Breakers finished in last place in the eleven-team league, with a woeful 9-23 record. All was not well internally, with an alleged text message from Dillon Boucher to former coach and friend Green complaining about Arsego's style of coaching and his lack of game time. The Breakers severed ties with Arsego after the dismal season, and after much speculation about Tall Blacks coach Tab Baldwin taking over as coach, Andrej Lemanis, a Townsville Crocodiles assistant coach, was appointed in a somewhat surprising decision, at least to New Zealand basketball followers.

Mike Chappell, the saviour of the Breakers' first two seasons in the NBL, was jettisoned in favour of Rich Melzer before the 2005-06 season. The move was at first frowned upon by those in the basketball fraternity, with Melzer's pedigree that of an NCAA Division III school (compared to Chappell, who won a national title at Michigan State).

Lemanis' first season in charge was not particularly memorable, with the Breakers finishing the regular season in ninth spot out of 11 teams, with a 9-23 record. During the season, the Breakers endured a club-record eleven straight losses as they slipped to a 3-17 record. However, after Melzer returned to action, he returned a changed player after an indifferent start, which ultimately led to an NBA contract(see next paragraph). Melzer teamed up with centre Ben Pepper and with steady contributions from import Brian Green and Kiwi Aaron Olson, the Breakers split their final twelve games of the season, including inflicting the only home defeat for the Sydney Kings in the regular season.

On 14 July 2006 it was announced that Melzer had signed a two-year contract with NBA team the San Antonio Spurs. On August 16, 2006 the Breakers signed former West Sydney Razorbacks point guard Adam Darragh, who became the Breakers back-up point guard behind captain Paul Henare. The following day on August 17 it was announced that the Breakers had signed Ricardo "Carlos" Powell, Melzer's replacement.

On 28 August 2006 the Breakers also unveiled a new look for their uniform, the primary colour of their jerseys changing to black, to represent New Zealand as they are the only New Zealand team in the competition.

The Breakers struggled in the 2006-07 season finishing with an 11-22 record, despite being 8-9 at the halfway point. A ten-match losing streak killed off the Breakers chances of qualifying for the playoffs. The play of American import Carlos Powell was entertaining to watch. The former USC standout led the league in scoring, including a 50-point game against the Melbourne Tigers, but in a losing effort. It would become a theme of the Breakers' second-half to the season, with Powell's spectacular individual performances often in vain. Powell even won Player of the Week in a week where the Breakers went 0-3, after gargantuan 43 and 50-point efforts. It was thought that the lack of success of the Breakers cost Powell the MVP award in the league. After the 2006-07 season, original Breaker Aaron Olson announced his immediate retirement, and despite the Breakers trying hard to retain him, Powell opted to test NBA waters in his native America.

In 2007-08 off-season the Breakers signed Australian veteran Tony Ronaldson, and current Tall Blacks Phill Jones and Paora Winitana. The biggest signing however for the Breakers was New Zealand's marquee player Kirk Penney after a distinguished overseas career. Penney was only the second New Zealander to play in the NBA (behind Sean Marks) and had also played for European powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv.

In the 2007-08 season, with the overhauled roster, the Breakers set out on intent on making the playoffs for the first time in their history, thanks in part to the form of import Rick Rickert, a friend of Penney. Despite season-ending injuries to Rickert and fellow import Wayne Turner, their replacements Derrick Alston and Orien Greene helped the Breakers to seal their maiden NBL playoff berth. In their first playoff match, they defeated the Cairns Taipans in Cairns 100-78 to set up another elimination final against the defending champion Brisbane Bullets. However, this proved a bridge too far for the Breakers, defeated in Brisbane to bring the curtain down on their season.

Prior to the 2008-09 season, the collapse of the Brisbane Bullets saw the Breakers swoop and sign influential players C.J. Bruton and former Breaker Dillon Boucher, whilst losing Kiwis Paora Winitana and Mika Vukona.

The Breakers started the 2008-09 season with a roar, sitting atop the NBL ladder with a 15-4 record heading into 2009. Bruton joined forces with Penney in what turned out to be the All NBL First Team backcourt, and had support from Oscar Forman, Tony Ronaldson and Phill Jones.

However after Bruton suffered a high ankle sprain in a victory over the Perth Wildcats - the Breakers last match in 2008 - the Breakers stuttered through January 2009 without their talismanic leader, losing eight of their next nine games as his ankle fully recovered.

After a successful last week of the regular season, the Breakers finished with an 18-12 record (surpassing the 2007-08 record of 16-14), setting the team up with their first ever home playoff in the NBL. The Breakers went on to win their elimination playoff, routing the Adelaide 36ers 131-101 to set up a best-of-three semi-final series with the defending champion Melbourne Tigers. Sadly, the Breakers dreams of winning the championship were stopped at the semi-final stage, beaten 2-0 in the best-of-three series by the Tigers.

The 2010s

The Breakers added Burger King as their primary sponsor after going without one for the previous two seasons. The Breakers added former NBA player Awvee Storey to their ranks in their only major roster addition of note. Phill Jones was the major casualty, departing from the Breakers for the second time.

Tipped by some as championship favourites (due to the demise of the South Dragons and the off-season surgery to the Melbourne Tigers' lynchpin Chris Anstey, the Breakers began the 2009-10 NBL season in ominous fashion, sweeping to a 95-75 win over the Cairns Taipans with Penney and Bruton running amok. However after just three games, it was revealed that star guard Kirk Penney was to be sidelined with a back injury (eventually missing nine games). The wayward Storey was then replaced by Australian veteran John Rillie in a move that did not pay dividends for the club.

The Breakers eventually worked themselves back to a 9-9 record as Penney returned to the fray, before inconsistency returned, with the Breakers blowing potential match-winning leads over a three-week period which saw them lose four consecutive games to slip to a parlous 9-13. The addition of import Kevin Braswell sparked a late-season flurry, with the Breakers winning their last six matches to finish with a 15-13 record. But the late-season winning run proved to be in vain, as the Breakers agonisingly missed the playoffs, despite finish just two wins off minor premier (and eventual champion) Perth Wildcats.

First Championship

The 2010-11 season started with Tony Ronaldson retiring, Oscar Forman surplus to requirements, and Rick Rickert later jettisoned, the Breakers re-added Mika Vukona to their ranks, whilst adding former Utah State standout Gary Wilkinson to the mix. The Breakers successfully re-signed Kevin Braswell for the season, after Braswell hinted that he wanted to stay.

The Breakers' pre-season was hampered by the involvement of Tall Blacks' Kirk Penney, Thomas Abercrombie, Mika Vukona and Dillon Boucher (the assistant coach) in the 2010 FIBA World Championship. Penney was later signed to a non-guaranteed contract with NBA franchise the San Antonio Spurs, but was later cut during the preseason. Penney drew interest from former club Maccabi Tel Aviv, but it is understood that Penney's Breakers' contract only has an NBA out-clause, which he exercised to go to San Antonio.

The Breakers opened the new season with an 83-70 win over the returning Sydney Kings in Sydney's first home game back in the competition after a two-year hiatus due to financial problems. In the first home game of the regular season the Breakers played the Perth Wildcats and won 96-94.

The Breakers won their first five games of the season - four of which were without Penney - before losing 114-74 to the Perth Wildcats in Perth. The Breakers led the NBL from 17 December onwards after a gripping 89-85 over the Wollongong Hawks in Wollongong, snapping their 15-game home winning streak.

NZ finished the regular season with a 22-6 record, qualifying as the top seed in the playoff series.

In the ongoing finals series, the Breakers lost Game 1 of their semi-final series to rival Perth Wildcats 78-101 on 7 April, but summoned the strength to win Game 2 in Perth (93-89) on 10 April before closing out the series at home 99-83 on 13 April.

The Breakers made the grand finals, competing for the championship title against the Cairns Taipans. The Breakers came out in front after the first home game, with a 85 - 67 win. They then proceeded to the second of the best-of-three series to be played in Cairns. The game was tied at full time, forcing it to head into over time, and then a second over time. At the end of the gripping game, the Breakers came out second best with a 81 - 85 loss. The team then went back to their fortress at the NSEC where they played the third and final match of the final and came out 71 - 53 winners to claim their maiden championship title.

Back to back

Before the 2011-12 season started the Breakers lost import Kevin Braswell to a serious injury. He was replaced by former NBA player Cedric Jackson. The team were hit with another blow when star guard Kirk Penney decided to sign a multi year deal overseas. Many thought it would be impossible for the Breakers to repeat.

NZ started the year strong with 3 straight wins, losing their first game of the year to the Melbourne Tigers 64 - 67. Cedric Jackson flirted with a triple double on a number of nights, Alex Pledger started to blossom as one of the leagues best big men (despite coming off the bench) & Abercrombie played at a MVP level for most of the year. C. J. Bruton was injured early in the season but despite this the Breakers rolled through the regular season, including a 37 point smashing against the Sydney Kings.

The Breakers finished the season on top of the NBL ladder with 21 wins. Andrej Lemanis took out coach of the year, Cedric Jackson lead the league in assists per game and steals per game. Two Breakers played made the All NBL First Team - Cedric Jackson & Thomas Abercrombie. Whilst the other import Gary Wilkinson made the All NBL Second Team.

The Playoffs got off to a shaky start for the Breakers after they lost to the Townsville Crocs in game 1. The Breakers would bounce back winning the next 2 games to take out the series. But in the dying minutes of game 3 Thomas Abercrombie would go up for a dunk, Peter Crawford fouled him and Abercrombie landed awkwardly, injuring himself. As a result he could not play in game 1 of the finals and was mostly ineffective during the NBL finals.

NZ would face the Perth Wildcats in the finals. They would go on to win the series 2 - 1 lead by finals MVP C. J. Bruton who took over all three games, and had a chance to win game 2 at the buzzer, but was blocked by Shawn Redhage. Abercrombie played in the grand final series but was clearly no where near 100%.

Three Peat

At the end of the 2011-12 season the Breakers re-signed most of their free agents, apart from import Gary Wilkinson who decided to leave the NBL to play overseas after being asked to take a reduced roll to Alex Pledger. He was replaced by former Gold Coast Blaze import Will Hudson. In August 2012 the team announced the return of Cedric Jackson for the 2012-13 season as well. Corey Webster was re-signed after his suspension was lifted.

The Breakers started the season with a 21 point loss to the Perth Wildcats in a finals re-match in NZ. They would go on a 7 game winning streak until going down to the Perth Wildcats again in round 8, this time losing by 25 points. The Breakers would lose again 2 games later, this time to the Sydney Kings. This would be their last loss until the last round of the season as the Breakers set a franchise record by going on an 16 game winning streak, despite an injury to key player Will Hudson. This streak ended in Perth on March 22nd 2013.

NZ would finish with the best record in the league, also setting a franchise record 24 regular season wins. Cedric Jackson was named NBL MVP as well as being selected to the NBL All First Team and the All-Star game. Jackson dominated, leading the league in assists and steals per game. Andrej Lemanis won coach of the year for his second straight season, Alex Pledger lead the league in blocks per game as well as taking out back to back player of the week awards late in the season. Mika Vukona was selected to the All NBL Second Team and won player of the week in round 3. Thomas Abercrombie was selected to the All Star Game, Dunk Contest and the All NBL Third Team.

The Breakers breezed through the playoffs, sweeping both rounds against the Sydney Kings and Perth Wildcats on their way to their third straight championship, becoming just the 2nd team in league history to win three straight championships. Cedric Jackson won his first Grand Final MVP. Dillon Boucher announced his retirement just before the playoffs started. He played his last NBL game on April 12th.

On April 23rd it was announced[1] that head coach Andrej Lemanis would be the new head coach of the Boomers. Dean Vickerman was promoted to head coach of the Breakers for 2013-14. Cedric Jackson did not return to NZ a few weeks later the Breakers signed Kerron Johnson to team up with former Sydney Kings import Darnell Lazare.

The Breakers struggled throughout the 2014 season and as a result Lazare was released, the Breakers signed former import Gary Wilkinson to replace Lazare. And half way through the season big man Alex Pledger went down with a season ending injury, as a result the Breakers signed commentator Casey Frank who played well for the Breakers. However New Zealand could not break the top 4 and missed out on the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

The Breakers released import Kerron Johnson at seasons end and in July re-signed league MVP Cedric Jackson as well as Tai Wesley.

Links

http://www.nbl.com.au/breakers


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