Jordan Ngatai No.1 pick in historic NZNBL draft

By Micah Thompson

The 2020 Sal's NBL Draft has recently been completed, making it the first draft for New Zealand's premier basketball league. This draft comprised 84 players, who were selected by one of the seven teams in the league.

Tall Blacks small forward Jordan Ngatai was the first pick of this historic event and will now be seen playing for the Otago Nuggets. Otago also won veteran Tall Blacks point guard Jarrod Kenny, who they picked up from the bottom of the second round.

Ngatai, a three-time NBL champion with the Wellington Saints, brings his height, athleticism and scoring ability to Otago's guard-centric lineup. However, Ngatai was a late decision for the team, with its initial pick going to Kenny. The team, alternatively going with Ngatai as its first pick, was surprised to pick up Jarrod Kenny at the end of the second round.

Kenny's leadership skills would be seen as a vital asset for the team, along with his court craft and defensive ability. 

Derone Raukawa was the second pick for the draft, going to the Taranaki Mountainairs.

The Manawatū Jets selected Tall Black and Breaker forward Tom Vodanovich for the third pick.

The fourth pick went to the Nelson Giants, taking Tall Black captain Mika Vukona, who was pre-selected by the team as he had already spent the bulk of his career playing for the Giants.

NCAA 2019 champion Jack Salt was picked up by the Canterbury Rams as the fifth pick. Salt is the only NCAA player in New Zealand's Basketball League.

Franklin Bulls took Dom Kelman-Poto as the sixth pick and the Auckland Huskies selected former Sacramento State Hornets guard Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa inthe final pick of the first round.

The season will start on June 23.

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