New Zealand Breakers sign Scotty Hopson, alter coaching structure


The SKY Sport Breakers will have a new coaching structure to challenge for the NBL20 as well as a new import in Scotty Hopson.

A club review identified a need for better internal cohesion between the SKY Sport Breakers high-performance staff and the executive team.

As a result, a new executive position of Director of Basketball has been created and filled by Israeli Dan Shamir who has arrived in New Zealand with an impressive international resume.

The 44-year-old has been an Assistant or Head Coach in top leagues in Europe for the last 18-years, including working alongside former Cleveland Cavaliers Head Coach David Blatt and Ettore Messina, who is widely considered one of the greatest European coaches of all time.

Shamir has extensive Euroleague experience having won back to back Euroleague titles as an assistant coach with Maccabi Tel Aviv and was named Israeli Coach of the Year last year after guiding Hapoel Holon to victory in the Israeli Cup.

In his first week at the SKY Sport Breakers, Shamir has captured the signature of 6’7″ shooting guard Scotty Hopson who has experienced the big time in stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA.

As a signal to the Breakers commitment to developing New Zealand talent, Shamir has also presented a contract to Tall Blacks and Southland Sharks Power Forward Tom Vodanovich who celebrated his 25th birthday on Monday.

He has also brought in rising New Zealand coaching star Zico Coronel as an assistant after his standout NZ NBL season where he guided the unfancied Hawke’s Bay Hawks to the grand final.

Previously, Coronel has spent seven years as an assistant at the champion Wellington Saints.

SKY Sport Breakers owner Matt Walsh is delighted Shamir has accepted the position.

“Dan brings with him experience coaching at the highest levels and knowledge of best practices for top-level basketball organisations and his experience is already being felt throughout the organisation”.

As the Director of Basketball, Dan will play an integral role in the Breakers on and off-court performance.

The new structure has resulted in Head Coach Kevin Braswell leaving the club last month.

The SKY Sport Breakers thanked Braswell for the hard work, honesty and integrity he brought to the role and wish him success in the future.

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