The South East Melbourne Phoenix have announced the signing of guard Kendall Stephens, the son of former Geelong Supercats import Everette Stephens.
Kendall joins the Phoenix after most recently suiting up for Monbus Obradoiro in Spain following a stint late last year with the Orlando Magic’s Summer League team and a college career at Nevada and Purdue.
Many NBL fans will remember his father for his work above the rim and his ability to score at will, with the apple not falling far from the tree with Kendall a 6 foot 7 inch athletic wing with unlimited range.
Kendall, who has spent most of his life in the United States, was born in Australia during his father’s NBL stint making him an Australian citizen.
“I am really excited to get started! Any opportunity to play basketball is a blessing but for it to be with South East Melbourne Phoenix makes it even better,” he said.
“My dad was happy for me when I was able to join the Phoenix. He had a great experience playing in the NBL and thinks it will be a great fit for me as well. My playing style is being efficient and smart. Understanding what my team needs and filling that role with either scoring or making the right play for a teammate. “
Phoenix GM Tommy Greer kept a close eye on Stephens after seeing him play in Summer League last year, and discovering the Australian born American could play in the NBL as a local.
“We are really excited to have Kendall onboard! His family has a rich history in the NBL and we are keen for Kendall to continue that here in the Heartland of Australian basketball; South East Melbourne,” he said.
“Kendall was originally brought to our attention during last year’s NBA summer league where Liam Santamaria (NBL writer & commentator) uncovered the Australian born, American raised Stephens could play in Australia with a local status. We kept it a close eye on Kendall’s professional career from this point and his brief time in Spain before reaching out to secure him for the upcoming season.”
In his 77 games in the NBL Everette averaged 23.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, and 5.9 apg, and Kendall is keen to carry on the family legacy in Australia.
“I’ve heard nothing but great things about Australia from my parents and other athletes I know so I believe the transition will be a smooth one for me,” he said.
The 24-year-old currently holds the Nevada and Mountain West Conference single-season record for three-pointers made with 126 in his senior year, a record previously held by Jimmer Fredette of the Phoenix Suns.
Phoenix head coach Simon Mitchell said: “Kendall is one of those shooters who when he catches fire, will make shots only a few in the NBL would dare take. It’s always exciting when young talent is introduced to the NBL, and I think his signing brings a real balance to our roster between youth, young vets and established veterans.”
Stephens is the latest signing for the Phoenix and joins a growing roster including Mitch Creek, Tai Wesley, Kyle Adnam, Adam Gibson, Dane Pineau and Ben Madgen.
“South East Melbourne will be a great place for Kendall to build his professional career. He will have great veterans in Creek, Gibson, Madgen and Wesley to learn from while also bringing a skill set that will see him play a vital role for us.” Mitchell said.