Tough start for Charleton

Brent Charleton practises with the Otago Nuggets at the Lion Foundation Arena earlier this week. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Brent Charleton practises with the Otago Nuggets at the Lion Foundation Arena earlier this week. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Brent Charleton was rushed into the Tall Blacks camp when it was discovered he had a New Zealand passport.

The Canadian-born swingman's stay with the national squad was brief, though.

It was found Charleton did not meet FIBA's criteria, and he was ruled ineligible to represent New Zealand.

But the 25-year-old has built a decent record since joining the Harbour Heat three seasons ago.

In 44 games for the Auckland-based side he averaged 14.2 points.

The Nuggets leapt at the opportunity to secure his services, and heralded his signing along with the recruitment of his Heat teammate, Nat Connell.

The pair bring considerable experience to the roster and already have on-court chemistry, which the franchise hopes will pay off in wins.

While Connell arrived early, Charleton barely had a day to adjust to the Nuggets' systems before he had to suit up for the opening match against the Nelson Giants.

Charleton had been in camp with the New Zealand Breakers and arrived in Dunedin late.

He missed all of the pre-season build up and was thrust into the starting line-up.

‘‘It was pretty tough coming in and not knowing what the coach wanted,'' Charleton said.

‘‘When you have to come in and learn something quickly you just have to get on with it and do what you can.''

The game did not go well. The Nuggets put up a brave fight but lost 76-80, and Charleton just could not get the ball to drop.

The 1.94m sniper landed just one of his nine attempts from beyond the arc and was five from 15 from the floor.

‘‘I've been feeling the pressure, rushing shots and forcing the issue instead of waiting and trusting the system,'' he said.

Under coach Don Sims, the Nuggets play a structured style unlike the Heat's free-flowing approach, and Charleton is still feeling his way.

The Nuggets lost their next match to the Canterbury Rams in overtime, and Charleton had to watch the final moments from the bench after fouling out.

But despite a couple of narrow losses he remains confident the Nuggets can register their first win.

The Nuggets have a tough assignment against the Auckland Stars at ASB Stadium tonight, and they cross the bridge to play the Harbour Heat on Friday evening.

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