The Otago Nuggets have signed Mr Wright - Akeem Wright
The 27-year-old 2m forward has inked a one-year deal and is
expected to arrive in the city next week.
Wright was born in Philadelphia but honed his craft at Kansas
State University before pursuing a professional career which
took him to the United Arab Emirates, Argentina and Canada,
where he is playing for the Moncton Miracles.
He also played two games for the Bakersfield Jam in the NBA's
D-League in 2009-10 and boasts a useful record at the lower
In 13 games for the Miracles in the Canadian National
Basketball League he is averaging 19.8 points, 7.9 rebounds
and 4.2 assists.
In basketball terms, Wright is an all-rounder. He can cut to
the hoop, he can shoot, he is an aggressive rebounder and he
can defend in several positions.
"We wanted an all-rounder and this guy, in particular,
because of his rebounding strength and physical strength,"
Basketball Otago general manager Markham Brown said.
"But he is the sort of guy who can put the ball on the floor
and get to the hole and finish.
"He is a very good defender who blocks a lot of shots, as
well. He is also very athletic and does some pretty amazing
While that all sounds wonderful, he does not appear to have a
very good outside shooting game and that is an area the
Nuggets struggled with last year.
However, Tall Blacks point guard Mark Dickel has returned to
his home province this season and is widely respected for his
The additions of fringe Tall Blacks BJ Anthony and Leon Henry
give the Nuggets a much more competitive-looking roster,
although the pair will miss the Nuggets' earlier games while
on duty with Breakers in the Australian Basketball League.
Their absence is the main reason the Nuggets recruited an
all-rounder like Wright rather than opt for an out-and-out
scorer. They will need his production at both ends.
"[Wright] is an exciting player and we liked what we saw. We
also felt we needed someone who could have a real impact
while we are waiting on those other two.
"We talked to his previous coach ... and his team and he has
been a really good player on and off the court for them."
The Nuggets are expected to make an announcement regarding a
second import later this week. That player is expected to be
Dickel and the two imports will have to nurse the Nuggets
through the opening month of the competition. But it is also
an opportunity for players such as "Sam King, James Ross and
Riki Buckrell to really show their wares", Brown said.