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Off-Season Player Wrap: Ayre Claims Double-Double in NZ Debut

03 Apr
3 mins read

Written By

Kadek Thatcher for Phoenix Media

The NBL off-season is in full swing with our rostered players plying their trade both locally and overseas.

Cover Image credit: @dub__gallery

Phoenix Media will update fans on how the players perform through weekly updates across the off-season.

Ben Ayre – Wellington Saints (NZNBL)

The New Zealand league started on the weekend with point guard Ben Ayre suiting up for the Mills Albert Wellington Saints alongside fellow NBL players Lat Mayen (Cairns Taipans), Hyrum Harris (Perth Wildcats) and Tohi Smith-Milner (Adelaide 36ers).

In his first game for the season, Ayre took on Reuben Te Rangi’s Auckland Tuatara, taking the chocolates on the Easter Sunday game by 30 points.

He made an immediate impact, claiming a double-double with 20 points, 12 assists, four rebounds, and a steal.

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(Ben Ayre playing his first season in New Zealand for the Saints. Photo credit:  @dub__gallery)

Reuben Te Rangi – Auckland Tuatara (NZNBL)

The New Zealand national captain once again returns to the Auckland Tuatara during the off-season.

Even though he didn’t get the win over Ayre’s Saints, Te Rangi scored 17 points and pulled in four rebounds.

Sam Mackinnon – Taranaki Airs (NZNBL)

Phoenix assistant coach Sam Mackinnon has taken on the reins as head coach of the Taranaki Steelformer Airs in New Zealand. He coaches NBL stars Sam Froling (Illawarra Hawks) and Mitch McCarron (Adelaide 36ers).

Mackinnon’s coaching debut across the ditch was a fruitful one, claiming a five-point victory.  

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(Sam Mackinnon coaching the Taranaki Airs in the NZNBL. Photo credit: @porkysproduction)

Gorjok Gak – Rockingham Flames (NBL1 West)

Gorjok Gak returned to the West during the off-season, signing with the Rockingham Flames after playing for the Willetton Tigers in 2023’s campaign.

In round one, the Flames defeated the SW Slammers 96-85. Gak continued his to build on his Defensive Player of the Year season last year with a double-double of 28 points and 15 rebounds.

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(Gorjok Gak suiting up for the Rockingham Flames in NBL1 West. Photo Credit: Garth Nunes | @214tribemedia)

Mitch Creek – Xinjiang Flying Tigers (CBA)

Phoenix captain Mitch Creek has flown to China to play in their league for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers.

Since arriving, he has played in their last seven games, winning five of them.

He has averaged 5.7 points and 1.3 rebounds in six minutes on court. The CBA only allow one import player on the court at one time.

Stay tuned via Phoenix socials to keep updated with players' performances during the off-season.

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