Rodger success story of Otago players scattered around NBL

Richie Rodger.
Richie Rodger.
Otago may not have a team in this year's NBL, although a bunch of its players are scattered among teams around the country.

Richie Rodger has been the most notable success story of the season so far.

After receiving a late call-up to the Taranaki Mountainairs, the 21-year-old guard has played his way into major minutes.

An injury to veteran Houston O'Riley opened a starting spot and Rodger has made full use of the opportunity.

He played 37 minutes in an overtime loss against the Canterbury Rams, recording 14 points on 60% shooting, to go with seven assists and four rebounds.

Four days later, he backed that up with a five-point, 10-assist and three-rebound performance in a win over the Manawatu Jets.

It is an encouraging start for Rodger, who had been a development player with the Rams and Otago Nuggets before spending two years at college in the United States.

At the Southland Sharks, former Otago Boys' High School swingman Luke Aston is having another solid season.

The 27-year-old is averaging 9.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game on a team in second place with a four-win, two-loss record.

Clinton's Lydon Aoake has also had court time for the team and scored three points in his past two appearances.

The 28-year-old was in his first NBL season, having moved south from Auckland two years ago and trialling for the team this year.

In Canterbury, former North Otago guard Max de Geest has shown his ability to threaten from long range for the top-of-the-table Rams. The 18-year-old's minutes have risen and he has hit three three-pointers in each of his past two appearances.

He has done that at a high percentage too, making three-for-four against Nelson and three-for-five against the Supercity Rangers.

Also with the Rams is Josh Aitcheson and, while playing every game, the former Junior Tall Black has battled for minutes.

He has found himself behind the side's imports who have played 35-plus minutes in most games.

At the Wellington Saints, former St Kevin's College swingman Matt Brien made his debut in the final minute of the side's game against the Sharks.

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