Derone Raukawa a new emerging talent could be the answer to New Zealand Breakers coach Paul Henare's troubles. Injuries have put four of his top players out, leading into the Club Hit-Outs in Australia. However, the 21-year-old player from Levin has made an impact after becoming the teams top scorer against the Brisbane Bullets in Southland - his coach Paul Henare believes it wasn't an accident.
Raukawa says, "he told me it's not an accident being here. Just to come in and try hard and just follow in the footsteps of what the other people have done. Just pick my game up - he tells it as it is which is what I like."
Raukawa was called in after his inclusion to the Tall Blacks during their Olympic qualifying tournament in the Philippines last July. Although Henare is reaping the rewards, he believes his assistant Judd Flavell deserves much of the credit.
Henare says, "Not much actually from me. Good to have some individual meetings with the assistant coaches, but it was great for him to be able to come out and he's going to get another crack at it this weekend - with limited bodies to work with."
Their pre-season campaign is heavily plagued with injury making four of their top guards unavailable to play. However Raukawa and Ethan Rusbatch will get more court time as they take on a five day trip across the tasman in the official pre-season hit out (Australian Basketball Challenge).
“I'm hoping to do the same like the other development players which is to make it into a roster spot whether it takes a year or two. That's what they did they grinded it out and i'm trying to do the same," says Raukawa.
The NZ Breakers first match is against the Sydney Kinds this Friday.