American Belger latest signing for Southland Sharks

The Southland Sharks have added American Courtney Belger to their roster.

The experienced point guard joins fellow countryman Daniel Alexander to fill the side’s second import slot for this year’s National Basketball League.

Both are dependent on the NBL’s application for the critical worker exemption for their imports being successful.

Belger, who is from St Louis, has spent time in both Australia and Germany in recent years.

Most recently he has played for FC Schalke 04 in the German Pro A League, averaging 14 points, four assists and five rebounds per game.

He has played seven years in Germany, alongside three in the West Australian league.

Sharks’ head coach Rob Beveridge’s coaching network led Belger to Invercargill.

"Playing in Western Australia my strength and conditioning coach and some of the guys I went up against are all tight with Bevo and they obviously said some nice things, so when I got the call it all just fell into place," Belger said.

"I didn’t play this last season.

"My wife [professional women’s player Ali Schwagmeyer] and I have been apart playing in different countries for a long time, so with the way the world is right now it was a good opportunity to watch her play and Sydney was one of the best situations.

"I was looking at playing in one of the State Leagues, but to get to New Zealand and the Sharks is perfect."

The NBL’s submission for critical workers is currently being reviewed by Immigration New Zealand.

It is hoped players and coaches will arrive in late March through to mid-April, in time for the competition’s April 24 tip-off.

The Sharks open their season on the road in Nelson on Monday, April 26. Their first home game at Stadium Southland against the Taranaki Mountainairs on Thursday, April 29.

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