The difference in status allows for players such as Fotu to still pursue opportunities in the American College system without jeopardising their amateur status.While Prewster has already established quite a CV including captaining the New Zealand team at the 2009 FIBA U19 World Champs, Fotu is a product of the Breakers development programme, having spent two years in the club’s Academy programme for emerging talent. The 6 foot 6 inch 17 year old becomes the youngest ever development player in the club’s history and follows in the footsteps of Corey Webster and BJ Anthony to emerge from the club Academy programme. Academy Coach Judd Flavell says Fotu is an exciting prospect. “Isaac has worked hard during his time in the Academy, especially off the court in the gym as he turns his frame from that of a kid into an athletic basketballer.
His potential is enormous, he has great hands, balance and footwork around the basket but also the ability to knock the outside shot down.
He is a great kid with a fantastic work ethic and attitude.
He has similar attributes and skills to our current Breakers power forwards Mika Vukona and BJ.
”Fotu has already made others take notice of those abilities, being named to the All Star Five at the recent Nike All Asia Camp in China, an invitation only tournament for some of the best young High School players throughout Asia and Oceania. Flavell says the agreement with Fotu is significant beyond the player himself. “The NZ Breakers pathway is established now as a viable option for young players to pursue their careers and learn the game of basketball.
For some like Tom Abercrombie and Alex Pledger who sign up directly to Development Contracts and on to our full roster or in the case of Isaac identifying talent at a younger age in our Academy programme, the opportunities are tremendous.
“Five years ago our Development Players were 22 and 23 year olds.
To think now we are looking at talent as young as Isaac suggests a massive improvement in the talent pool and the quality of young players keen to join the club and one day play for the Breakers and New Zealand.
”Fotu is showing his dedication to the game, turning up at the Breakers Atlas Place gym academy programme three mornings a week before school to practice for 2 hours under the watchful eye of the Breakers coaching staff, in particular Development Coaches Dave MacKay and Lawrence Lianda.
Further to the above signings, the Breakers are in continued discussions with Wellington Saints forward Steve Adams and keep in regular contact with his management regarding a possible non-contracted Development Player role with the club. Breakers General Manager Richard Clarke is delighted at the quality of players signed but also the future beyond these three players. “Josh, Dion and Isaac are tremendously talented youngsters, all with big futures in the game either here at the Breakers or in other professional leagues around the world.
For us as a club to play a key role in their development is vital to what we are about, providing a pathway to help young talent and in turn New Zealand basketball.
“Our Academy Programme is full of kids brimming with talent and aspirations to one day emulate the likes of Kirk Penney and Tom Abercrombie in both a Breakers and a Tall Blacks singlet.
These kids are our future and as shown with Corey, and BJ the dream of going from Academy prospect to ANBL champion with the Breakers is a very real one.
2011/12 Development Players Dion Prewster
21 years old
Via United States College
Currently playing for Wellington Saints in the Bartercard NBL Josh Bloxham
21 years old
Breakers Development Player Contract
Currently playing for Nelson Giants in the Bartercard NBL Non- Contracted Isaac Fotu
Breakers Academy Programme
Currently attending Rangitoto College · Development Players must be aged under 24 years at the end of the season. · Contracted Development Players are part of the team’s roster for all home games.
· Contracted Development Players able to be subbed in and out of the full roster at any time during the season in the event of injury or form fluctuations. · Non-contracted Development Players are not paid and do not therefore jeopardise their future involvement in the American College system · Non-contracted Development Players can be included on a team roster for home games