New Sunbury Jets recruit Mitchell Newton is hoping a change of countries and entering the Big V will ignite his basketball career.
Newton made the move to Sunbury from New Zealand three weeks ago after signing with the division 1 club.
He said last week the move to the Jets would be a big step forward.
His original plans for next year didn’t include moving away from home.
“I was going to play in the New Zealand National Basketball League again next season when Andrew Summerville [Jets’ men’s coach] messaged me and asked if I wanted to come over,” Newton said. “I thought I may as well give it a go.
“If I stayed where I was in New Zealand there would have been no pre-season, and I wouldn’t have been on court until March-April. So I have a good chance to develop in the pre-season here,” said 20-year-old Newton, who played with Southland Sharks in the NZNBL for four years and was part of two championships sides.
But despite reaching the top level in New Zealand, Newton thinks it’s in Australia that he’ll make his mark.
“I’ll probably get a lot more minutes out here than I would in the NZNBL.
“It’s another one of the reasons I decided to make the move to Sunbury. Last season, I played about 87 minutes all up.”
A late starter, Newton came into representative basketball at age 15.
He represented New Zealand as a junior on the international stage and last year toured the Philippines and Taiwan as part of a New Zealand select squad under the banner of Wellington Saints.
“All my family plays basketball and I love the game,” he said.
“I lived in the country and couldn’t get to the league so I didn’t start playing properly until I was 15, when I began playing rep. I want to play NBL in future so I’m hoping I can use my time here to get onto a development squad.
“Getting more game time will help with that,” Newton said.
“They can’t see you if you’re not playing. I want to play professionally and go as far as I can go.”
Newton will also help the association with its Aussie Hoops, Flight Path and sporting schools programs.
Jets men’s coach Andrew Summerville said while Newton was a surprising addition to the Big V roster, he was a promising talent.
“He had limited opportunities playing in a star-studded championship team in the NZNBL, so he will flourish in our team with greater opportunities and responsibilities.
“He has a rare blend of size, speed and athleticism and has already proven at practice that he will have an impact on the court this season.”