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“Hawks Bolster the big man department with athletic Agee touching down in the Bay.”
The search for a player to help the Hawks post stocks has concluded with talented, athletic and versatile post Tajuan Agee joining the team. A native of Chicago “Juan” as he is affectionally known just touched down in the Bay, dropped his luggage, met the team and joined the group for the trip to the South Island.
Agee has recently completed a stint in the highly regarded German Pro A league with Rasta Vechta, after joining them with a 2-7 record, his impact helped the team finish the season strongly at 16-16. This stint in Germany followed a rookie season in Europe for club Balkan who played in the FIBA Euro Cup and Basketball Champions league and the domestic Bulgarian league, where Agee averaged 12 pts & 8 rebs in 21 mins of play.
“What really stood out was how mature and easy to talk to Juan was in the recruiting process. He understands team dynamics and has played on deep rosters, so he is happy to play whatever role is required for us to be successful. Speaking with his coach from Germany they were wrapped with what he brought to the locker room and court and wouldn’t hesitate to have him back (always a good sign). Once over the jet lag and with a few weeks with the group we’re really looking forward to what Juan can bring.” Coach Mick Downer
“After hearing the team reached the finals in recent years I jumped at the opportunity knowing it is a great team and to be that piece that can help win it all by playing my role. I’ve played with veteran teams before, and hope that I can be that energy guy that lifts the team,” Agee added.
3 Quick Facts about Tajuan Agee:
- The eldest of 6 siblings
- Love’s animals and asked if NZ has any spiders
- I have Jamaican heritage
The Taylor Hawks have landed arguably the biggest signing in the 2022 Sal’s NBL free agency with NCAA Champion (University of Virginia), Jack Salt set to battle for the Bayside team.
Currently plying his trade for the Brisbane Bullets in the Australian NBL, a current Tall Black, and former Canterbury Ram, Salt will follow his former mentor and now Hawks Head Coach Mick Downer along with several team mates back up to the North Island as the Bayside team adds a big piece to an already impressive roster.
“I’m looking forward to doing whatever I can to help the team reach its full potential this season and I’m excited to be part of such a talented group. I’m happy to be coached by Mick again, he has a great understanding of the game but it’s his ability to connect with people and help get the most out of his players that helped in my decision.”
The decision itself was a difficult one with several teams understandably trying to land the pivotal post players signature. Salt’s story of overcoming adversity and being resilient is an inspiring one. After becoming the first NZ player to win an NCAA championship, playing in the NBA Summer League with the Phoenix Suns and signing professionally, Salt has battle illness and injury in recent seasons but through tireless effort and a tough mindset he has returned to full health and is raring to go.
“It’s been frustrating at times, for sure, but I’ve learned a lot about how to get the most out of my body and I’m healthy and ready to play. I’m excited to get to NZ after this season and help the Hawks be successful.”
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JK as he is affectionately known throughout the basketball whānau will return for his 12th season in a Taylor Hawks jersey. An inspirational leader, dual championship winner in the Australian NBL (with the Perth Wildcats), and 2020 Sal’s NBL Showdown Champion will bring his winning mentality, experience, and leadership back to the court and locker room for this season’s championship campaign.
Kenny has played the game all over the world, proudly wearing the black for the national side on some of the sport’s biggest stages. After making his Tall Blacks debut in 2009 JK has gone on to represent the black jersey for over a decade, but for all those memories, individual accolades and wins there is one trophy that he is desperate to help bring to the Bay.
“I’m excited to be part of the Hawks team for the 2022 season. I’m looking forward to getting back to Hawke’s Bay when the time comes and working towards a championship. The team that has been assembled and the number of young local talent that is involved is exciting to see.”
JK is currently playing for the Cairns Taipans in the Australian NBL and will join his Hawks team mates a couple weeks into the season once his duties are fulfilled in Aussie.
A rising star on the NZ basketball landscape Harris has already had a big year and is fuelled for more success both individually and for the Taylor Hawks. Currently plying his trade for the Adelaide 36ers in the Australian NBL and off a recent stint with the Tall Blacks at the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, his career trajectory is on the up and up.
A key member of the 2021 Hawks team that was oh so close to a championship, it was an easy decision for Harris to return to the club in what will be his 3rd season with the team and his 8th in the Sal’s NBL. He’s closely connected with so many of the players from last season that shared that journey, is excited about having a full time professional coach with Downer’s experience and he and his partner Takiri just love it here in the Bay.
“I just can’t wait to get back to the Bay and play with the boys again. I love the team we are putting together, we will be versatile and deep. We have the tools to win it and I look forward to doing whatever I can to help the team be successful. It’s the best place for me to be as I continue my basketball journey and grow as a player.”
Harris will join his team mates after fulfilling his commitments with the Adelaide 36ers.
Season seventeen as a professional athlete, a decade long career with the national team, a member of the Hawks 2006 championship team, are a just a few achievements in a long, long list of the Taylor Hawks legend Everard Bartlett.
The ultimate team mate, competitor, a kaiārahi to the younger players, and don’t forget a lights out shooter. The cagey veteran will return to the hardwood in 2022 desperate to help the team returning to championship glory after a nail biting 2021 campaign that was oh so close. It’s fair to say the miles covered as a professional player far outweigh the miles remaining but there is definitely fuel in the tank and a burning desire to help lead Bay Hawks to success this season. Everard shares his thoughts on the why’s and how’s he can continue to help the Taylor Hawks as he enters into his fourteenth season with the club.
“It’s simple, I want to be a part of bringing a championship back to the Bay and seeing it hang alongside the 2006 one. At my age and with this team, being able to play a role that can help us be successful is a big motivation. I couldn’t do this without the support of my coaches and team mates but most importantly my whānau. My wife is our families rock and her support is the biggest reason I can continue to do what I love, without her this isn’t possible.”
Versatile guard Derek Albertsen will bring his talents and leadership to the Taylor Hawks in 2022 and will re-unite with coach, and several team mates after playing last year for the Rams. “DA” as he is known throughout the NBL, is a popular, hard-working, sharp shooting guard who will add depth to the Hawks back court this season.
The 27 year old dipped his toes in the water a decade ago as a teenager training with the Airs, then Nuggets before playing a few seasons back in home town Taranaki. DA then relocated to Christchurch to concentrate on a flourishing personal training career, while continuing to play in the strong Canterbury club scene. Strong performances in the 3×3 format also sees him highly ranked on the national stage. A return to the NBL was halted due to Covid in 2020 but Albertsen returned in 2021 for the Rams and played a key role off the bench, with great impact leading the reserve squad. It this leadership, mixed with a hard-work, talent and a great understanding of the game which was a big part of the recruitment process for the Hawks coach.
“Derek is one of those guys that you’re just happy to go in to battle with. He brings an infectious energy, is a great motivator and leader for all players, and in the community with our rangatahi. He has a great understanding of the game and plays like a coach on the floor.”
Albersten shares his passion for wanting to come to Bay by stating, “I’m super excited for this opportunity to come to this successful franchise and have my input in the team. To be playing alongside old team mates and friends while also playing for Mick again, let’s get to work.”
Century old local business leads booming sport into the future.”
A cold call from Bay Hawks basketball Chair Keith Price six years ago to Taylor Corporation Director Kelvin Taylor has led to one of sports more unique, but extremely strong bonds that continues to see the clubs performance grow, both on and off the court.
Article by Hawkes Bay Today Journalist Doug Laing has been published today. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/hawkes-bay-today/
Price elaborates further on what un-folded six years ago when he made the SOS call to Taylor during what was then some dark times for the club, “it was introduction from a former Hawks GM to Kelvin that lead to a simple but unbelievably positive response. I said (to Kelvin) we’re in trouble right now but I have a plan, and this thing could be great, are you in?”
In response to the call to arms, the award winning Apple exporting business has continued to support the basketball club with their philanthropic and family first philosophy. Taylor comments on the reasons why his family continues their journey with the Hawks. “Taylor Corp has enjoyed supporting the Taylor Hawks and watching the sport grow. We joined in the tough times and are proud of how our support has helped the club continue to grow. As we export apples all around the world we are pleased to be able to give back to the local community by supporting a great club.”
The Taylor Hawks naming rights partnership in the Sal’s National Basketball League is rivalled by others as one of the most stable and strong connections. The merging of an industry leading, innovative, and forward thinking local business, with a growing club who continues to improve on court results and off court capabilities is one that sees a great outlook for the future. With stability and great support, championship success in the country’s most booming sport is in the eyes of the Taylor Hawks.
The man they call Q, Quintin Bailey will bolster the Hawks this season specifically battling alongside Jordan Hunt in the front court. The athletic big man is a welcome addition to Hawks and like Hunt was highly sort after by multiple teams during free agency before agreeing to terms with the Hawks.
Bailey, from Stratford, Taranaki has played the past two seasons with the Canterbury Rams after completing a successful collegiate career. First starting at highly regarded Californian Junior College Citrus, before finishing his college career as a key starter for NAIA powerhouse , John Brown Golden Eagles. Going 28-5 in his senior year.
Known as a hard-working, tough, and great culture guy the versatile forward / post shares his reasons for joining the Taylor Hawks for this season.
“I’m stoked to sign with the Taylor Hawks for the upcoming NZNBL season and I’m looking forward to getting to work with Mick and fellas. I felt the Hawks provided a great environment for me to further grow as a player both on and off the court; ultimately, helping me to get one step closer to my potential. Can’t wait to get started!”
Quintin is an exciting part of the next wave of young kiwi talent and is the fourth signing for the Taylor Hawks in what so far has been a prosperous free agency. We have also just released Season Memberships at “Early Bird” prices. Head to our website to secure your tickets to all nine home games and support Quintin and the boys in season 2022.
Explosive excitement machine Derone Raukawa is back for the Taylor Hawks in season 2022. Raukawa re-connects with recently announced team mates Ethan Rusbatch and Jordan Hunt as the trio of core players who will look to run it back for the Hawke’s Bay faithful.
Always smiling, upbeat, chatty and playing with an amazing combination of speed, excitement but smoothness the crowd favourite is back for the Taylor Hawks and looking to help lead the team take that next step towards a Sal’s NBL championship. When asked about his motivations for returning Raukawa made things crystal clear:
“RUN IT BAAAACK! After last year there was no doubt in my mind I was coming back to the Taylor Hawks to help take one step further and lift that trophy in 2022. With the city as appealing as the potential line-up of this team, tip-off can’t come soon enough. I’ll bring the energy once again! You guys just make sure it’s loud in Pettigrew Arena. Let’s go Hawks,” Derone Raukawa.
After gaining experience with a couple clubs early in his career Derone and his partner Alivia have recently settled in Hawke’s Bay and love the region, the club and his team. One of New Zealand’s premier play making guards, and with NBL experience with the NZ Breakers the extremely talented player will look to help drive a successful run at the 2022 championship.
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