The SKYCITY Breakers aimed high and got Loe, with Tall Black Rob Loe confirmed as the seventh player confirmed to the roster for the 2017/18 Australian National Basketball League campaign.
6’11” versatile big man Loe is the latest to put pen to paper for Paul Henare’s team and the first in the free agency period, joining Alex Pledger, Mika Vukona, Tom Abercrombie, Kirk Penney, Shea Ili, and Finn Delany in returning to the club.
“It is every players goal to win a championship and the Breakers have a proud history of that and this is something I want to continue doing, that is a huge motivation for me in coming back for another season”, said Loe.
“Guys like Mika, Alex, Tom and Kirk lead from the front and you soak up all that experience, they have been there and won championships before. Then bring in the mix the energy that Shea, Finn and myself all bring, it is a fun team to be a part of and it is shaping up as a good year.”
Head Coach Paul Henare is delighted that Loe has committed to return, with coaches and players united in the need to have his basketball smarts back in a Breakers singlet.
“He was a guy that in the end of season review was a big priority, and that came from his team mates and the coaching staff, so to be able to lock him in for next season is great news.
“Rob is what I would call a ‘glue guy’, he is a high IQ basketball player, offensively and defensively he is sound and knows our systems inside out. He is a good communicator and one of those guys that does a lot of things are unnoticed outside our environment, but not by us, we know his value on and off court, he is great to have in the locker room as well.”
As well as chasing championships with the SKYCITY Breakers, the comforts of home are also very much top of mind for Loe in making the call to return home.
“Last year was so much fun, we didn’t do as well as we wanted but being part of the SKYCITY Breakers organization, being home and being with a group of guys that I have known since I was 12 years old – there was just something about that.
“Living overseas is so different, often you don’t know the culture, don’t speak the language and you are away from family and friends and it takes time to get to know the guys on the team, so yeah, playing at home has a whole lot going for it.”
Just 25 years old, Loe already has two years’ experience in Europe following on from his College career in the USA, but he has no doubt that the quality of the NBL is on the improve and already shapes up well against other leagues around the world.
“I think the Australian NBL gets a bad rap from some in Europe, some don’t rate it so much but they are starting to take notice now for sure, they are saying how good the players are coming out of the league and also how close and competitive the league is. I was pleased with the quality of the competition and that is important for me at this stage in my career, to continue to be challenged and continue to learn and grow as a player.”
Loe will return to the club a changed man however, he will marry his long-time partner Kelly in July in the States.
“We have been together for six years now, this is the next step and exciting times for us and even better knowing that I have my immediate playing future sorted. Wedding planning is a big focus for us right now, but this gives me something to prepare for in basketball, I am already working on what is needed and what Pauli, Judd and Mike want me to work on. I am just excited to sign the contract and look forward to rejoining the team.”
Speaking of partnerships, Henare is delighted that the club has been able to recruit quality ‘bigs’ that carry New Zealand passports.
“Having good quality local ‘bigs’ with Alex and Rob is very valuable to us, Rob brings a lot to the game including the ability to step out and knock down the outside shot, but he is perhaps under rated as a good rim protector – not necessarily through athleticism, but thanks to his overall size and length and his basketball IQ to be right place and right time. They are different players but complement each other, the partnership they had last season was great and will only get better as they play and train with each other more often.”
Henare is extremely pleased with the recruitment process at this early stage of the off-season, with the club perhaps further ahead in player signings than ever before.
“To be so advanced this early is a good position to be in, it gives us time to put in our homework for the remaining spots, but yeah, it is great to have a good nucleus of guys back for another year.”
Click here to see the 2017/18 SKYCITY Breakers Team