After getting the signature of Josh Pace straight after the 2013 National Basketball League season ended, the Nelson Giants waited until a month out from the 2014 campaign before signing their second import.
However, they are confident they’ve found a quality producer, grabbing well-travelled big man Jamal Boykin to fill the void left by Erron Maxey.
Boykin, an American high-school standout, is a 6’8″ forward, originally playing collegiately for Duke, before moving to Cal-Berkeley, where he stood out, being named in the Pac-10 conference’s second team as a senior. Since he entered the professional realms in 2011, he has played all over the world, largely in Europe, where he has played in top divisions in Turkey, Cyprus, Netherlands and Germany, while he has also played in Japan.
Most recently, Boykin has been playing in the Ukraine, but with the recent threats of unrest levelled at the European nation by Russia, he grabbed an opportunity to come to New Zealand with both hands.
Also he may be undersized for the centre spot he’ll likely be playing in, a likely frontcourt with Mika Vukona will make up for a lack of size with hustle, intangibles and a good nose for the boards, while both players have good touch inside.
A problem the Giants may encounter is a lack of spacing, with recently signed Adrian Majstrovich being able to spread the floor, but Vukona (when available) and Boykin, as well as Pace – who rarely is a threat from deep – potentially clogging potential offence. However, their defence and productivity in finding efficient shots at the rim should be able to make up for any potential problems.
With pre-season encounters just two weeks away, the Giants will be looking to implement Boykin into their systems quickly as they aim to go one step further than last year’s finals defeat.