When you think of all the success the New Zealand Breakers have achieved over the past 5 years, one name has been synonymous: Cedric Jackson.
He has been the linchpin of the program for half a decade, stewarding them to three Championship wins out of four appearances in the finals.
Only 9 months ago Breakers CEO Richard Clarke said the team had spoken seriously with Jackson about becoming a New Zealand citizen and playing for them as a local. They had even discussed Jackson suiting up for New Zealand national team and that Cedric had “shown a lot of interest”.
It seemed certain Cedric would be a Breaker for life, right?
According to sources from within Melbourne United, the NBL powerhouse has made an offer to good for Jackson to refuse and he will soon be announced as the team’s new starting point guard.
Jackson will become part of what might be the best back court in the league as it’s expected Melbourne will also announce it has re-signed Stephen Holt to tandem with the 29 year old Jackson under the leagues new Asian player rule.
“One player per team from a FIBA Asia or Oceania country other than Australia or NZ may be contracted as a non-restricted player”
This gives Melbourne a guard rotation of Jackson, Holt and Nate Tomlinson for season 2016/17. There’s also two remaining import spots so that may not even be the last addition to the team’s backcourt.
In a team that now boasts the “four-hundred-thousand dollar man” Chris Goulding, rising-star Todd Blanchfield and young tyros Majok Majok, Igor Hadziomeric, Owen Odigie, and Chris Patton the acquisition thrusts Melbourne United straight into title contention.
Surprisingly after all the Tall Black talk it seems Jackson is sure his time in New Zealand is over with word Brisbane Bullets staff also confirming they had been in ‘serious talks’ with Jackson about a move to Queensland as recently as this week.
Illawarra staff have confirmed Kirk Penney is unlikely to return, with New Zealand being his likely destination.
Melbourne United are also linked to securing the services of Perth big man Nathan Jawai.
In other movements across the league the Brisbane Bullets have acquired the services of Daniel Kickert and Adam Gibson.