Melbourne United have officially announced the signing of import big man Shawn Long for the 2019/20 NBL season.
Long lit up the league last season playing for the New Zealand Breakers and was a dominant force on both ends of the court with his ability to rebound the basketball and throw down thunderous dunks.
The 206cm power forward/centre averaged the second most rebounds (9.1) and blocks (1.5) per game last season, along with being top five in points (18.1) – a true reflection of his versatility and all-round game.
After going undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft, Long played with the Delaware 87ers in the NBA D-League (now G-League), before signing with the Philadelphia 76ers in March 2017. He played 18 NBA games for Philadelphia, averaging 8.2 points and 4.5 rebounds in 13 minutes per game.
After a stint in China and another in the G-League, Long put the NBL on notice as soon as he arrived in New Zealand last season with his athleticism making him a match-up nightmare.
Head Coach Dean Vickerman spoke about his excitement brought about by the Club’s most recent import signing.
“In a league where we have some very high-level centres, I think Shawn has a skill set that is different to all the other elite centres in the league.” Vickerman said.
“With his ability to be a guy that teams need to double-team in the block, he shoots 40% from the 3, and then is still an excellent athlete in transition.”
“There are some things he does unbelievably well above the rim, and I think that if we can channel that emotion that he has in the right direction, then he is certainly going to excite our fans.”
United fans can expect plenty of highlight reel dunks from Long and the fact that he will be teaming up with great friend Melo Trimble is an exciting and mouth-watering prospect for Melbourne basketball.
With the announcement of Long signing on, Vickerman spoke of how United’s roster for the 2019/20 season is taking shape.
“Two local spots and one import spot remain to be filled now, so we continue to seek out the absolute best local products that we can.” Vickerman said.
“Once we achieve that, we will understand the skillset required from that final import, which we still believe will be in that small forward/power forward skillset.”