Harbour players in USA - mid season report (Men)
We end the year by taking a look at how our Harbour representatives are performing in college basketball in the USA.
Below is a half-term report on the seven men currently playing in the States – five of them playing at the NCAA Division 1 level.
Tomorrow we will cover off the Women in college.
Many of the teams our players represent are enjoying strong starts to their season but special mention should be given to Matt Freeman (Oklahoma Sooners), Jack Salt (Virginia Cavaliers) and Sam Waardenburg (Miami Hurricanes) who are all playing for Division 1 universities currently ranked in the top 20 in the States – it’s no mean accomplishment to be seeing court time in such high profile programmes.
University: University of Hawaii at Hilo Vulcans.
Brooke played two seasons at BYU Hawaii where last season he averaged 10 points per game and ranked second in the PacWest Conference for shots blocked.
This season for the Vulcans, who are 3-7 overall but 2-1 in PacWest play, Brooke leads the team in rebounding (6.5rpg) and blocks (1.9bpg) and is third in scoring with 10.9 points per game. His best performance came in the win against Concordia when the former Rangitoto College forward recorded 18 points and 13 rebounds.
University: University of Oklahoma Sooners
Conference: Big 12
The Sooners, with rookie sensation Trae Young at the point (he leads Division 1 in scoring, averaging 29 points per game), are 11-1 for the season and ranked inside the top 20 teams in the nation. Freeman has come off the bench in all 12 games contributing 4.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. Freeman is shooting the three ball at a handy 40% having converted 12 from 30 attempts.
University: Dartmouth College Big Green
Conference: Ivy League
Playing his first season for the prestigious Ivy League school, Letoa has appeared in 10 of the 11 games played by the Big Green this season. Gradually earning more minutes in the Dartmouth rotation, Letoa has averaged ten minutes per outing accumulating one point and 1.3 assists per game. Dartmouth is 4-7 for the season with Ivy League Conference play about to commence.
Jack Salt (Junior)
University: University of Virginia Cavaliers
Conference: Atlantic Coast
The top 10 ranked Cavaliers have had Salt anchoring their defence for a couple of seasons now. Salt, now a co-captain of the team, has made the starting centre position his own during the past two years playing all 34 games in that role last season and all 13 games to date in this campaign.
Salt averages 3.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game – not big numbers but in the role he performs for the Cavs he is a perfect foil for the athletic guards that have propelled Virginia to a very impressive 12-1 record.
That value was emphasized in the Cavs opening Atlantic Coast Conference win on Saturday (59-58 v Boston College). Salt played a season high 31 minutes, only took three shots but scored with each attempt, and finished with 4 rebounds, 2 blocks and an assist to go with those 6 points.
University: Biola University Eagles
Talma has started in each of the 13 games he has played this season for the Eagles and averages 8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. The former Westlake forward’s best outing was his most recent. On Saturday he plundered 18 points and 8 rebounds in the win against West Coast Baptist. His career best is 21 points against Shepherd University last season.
Although they boast a competitive 6-7 record Biola are still looking for their first win in the PacWest Conference having transitioned at the beginning of this season from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
University: University Miami Hurricanes
Conference: Atlantic Coast
Partly due to a back injury Waardenburg has been restricted to six outings as the No 15 ranked Hurricanes have made an impressive 12-1 start to the season.
The former Rangitoto College standout has averaged 2.7 points and 2.5 rebounds in 10 minutes court time per game as he eases into the demands of top level Division 1 play.
Year: Redshirt Junior
University: Vanderbilt University Commodores
After two standout seasons at St Mary’s University in Texas, Wetzell transferred to Vanderbilt University at the end of the last academic year. Last season Wetzell averaged 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game for St Mary’s – numbers that impressed Tall Blacks coach Paul Henare and earned him a place on the New Zealand Select tour of China in 2017. In accordance with NCAA transfer regulations he has to sit out (redshirt) the 2017/18 season.