The SKYCITY Breakers today confirmed their tenth fulltime roster player, with the announcement of a second import in the shape of American combo-guard DJ Newbill, leaving just one roster spot and the development unit (3) to be confirmed.
Newbill is a graduate of Strawberry Mansion in Philadelphia, and played for Southern Miss and then Penn State – a transfer so he could be closer to family back home in Philadelphia. Newbill averaged over 20 points a game in his senior year and featured strongly in other statistics such as assists, rebounds and steals with his all-round game.
Picked as a possible second round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, DJ was invited to workout with the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers/Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers. In late June 2015 Newbill was invited to participate in the 2015 NBA Summer League for the Los Angeles Clippers.
The quietly spoken Newbill prefers to let his talking take place on the court and can’t wait to get down under.
“I was talking with the Head Coach and I liked a lot of things he was telling me, how he had a plan for me and just hearing about the Australian League and how beautiful it is out there in New Zealand, and I got interested real quick.”
Newbill is a player that will bring versatility to the SKYCITY Breakers back court, with an ability to score or distribute on offence but also brings an edge on defence.
“I will go out and play hard every night, play tough, score the ball, defend the ball and get the ball to others on the team, I will look to do everything. I am a genuine combo guard, I can play 1 through 3 but I can defend most positions. I love to play defence. I think the key is understanding what the offensive player is going to do, sliding your feet and trusting your instincts.”
Of late, Newbill has been playing with Ostende in the Belgian League. He played the majority of the just completed season as the club went on to win the 2016-17 EuroMillions Basketball League title. It was the club’s sixth consecutive title and qualified them for the 2017-18 Basketball Champions League.
SKYCITY Breakers Head Coach Paul Henare says Newbill will be a great fit for the club, bringing a strong worth ethic and versatility to the roster.
“DJ is a great signing for us and is exactly what we were looking for in our second import. He can shoot the ball, play multiple positions and he can defend in a variety of roles as well, he will be a great role player for us, he is what you might term as a ‘glue’ guy and he knows how to win. At 25 he has a wealth of experience from a good College career and having played in the D League in the States and of late in Europe.”
“The balance of the roster is exactly what we have been looking for, we have quality in every position and good depth across the group. The final player might be the toughest to add, with a number of the current Tall Blacks roster in the mix – and the way they are responding on tour is making it a very difficult choice indeed.”
Newbill has spoken directly with friends who have experienced the ANBL, in particular Ramon Moore (also from Philadelphia) who played for Melbourne last year and has just signed with the Adelaide 36ers for the 2017/18 season.
“I have heard that the league has some great basketball and great competition. A lot of people speak highly of the league, even those that leave but maybe don’t want to. I have heard it is a great basketball atmosphere and can’t wait to be a part of it.”
The Breakers are shaping up as a side with experience throughout, even the younger players like Shea Ili and Finn Delany have shown that they are comfortable at ANBL level with considerable court time last season, while James Hunter is with that duo playing for the Tall Blacks at the Asia Cup in Beirut.
The roster looks equally at home in the paint as they do from deep, with Mika Vukona, Alex Pledger, Delany, Hunter and Rob Loe all at home near the hoop, while Kirk Penney, Tom Abercrombie, Loe, Sosa and Newbill will keep teams on their toes from the perimeter, with Delany and Ili also having the ability to knock shots down from deep.
25 years old
College career: Southern Miss and Penn State (fourth all-time scorer despite only playing three seasons)
Professional Clubs: Los Angeles Clippers Summer League, ASL (France), Akhisar Beledivespor (Turkey), Ostende (Belgium)
SKYCITY Breakers 2017/18 Roster
Alex Pledger, centre; Rob Loe, centre; James Hunter, forward; Mika Vukona, forward; Finn Delany, forward; Tom Abercrombie, swingman; Kirk Penney, guard; Shea Ili, guard; Edgar Sosa (Dominican Republic), guard; DJ Newbill (USA), guard.