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NBA comes calling for Corey Webster

New Zealand Breakers guard Corey Webster has hardly been home after his recent exploits with the Tall Blacks, but he now has to quickly pack his bags and get ready to board a plane for the United States after getting a call from his agent on Friday morning with an opportunity too good to turn down. 

Webster has been invited to work out with available players and coaching staff at the New Orleans Pelicans and while nothing more than that at the moment, it is a foot in the door that Webster wants to make the most of. 

“This sprung up pretty quick, the coaching staff at New Orleans have invited me to do some workouts for a couple of days or maybe a week. This is a chance to impress in that time and chase an invite to join the Pelicans training camp in October.

“My agent has been communicating with them (New Orleans) and says it is based on my form over the past couple of months since coming back from Europe, in particular up against NBA caliber players such as Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova. I guess they were watching and I have done enough for this invite, I have to work hard and show them I am worthy of the next step and get an invite to stay for longer” Webster explained.

The New Zealand Breakers have no interest in standing in the way of the young star chasing his NBA dream, with head coach Dean Vickerman fully supportive of Webster’s departure on the eve of the pre-season series with the Sydney Kings getting underway in Hamilton on Wednesday. 

“This is a great opportunity for Corey and one we wish him all the best with. This club offers a way into full-time professional basketball and gives young players something to aspire to, a pathway into a full-time career. But often that means we are just one step on the pathway and if it is the NBA calling who are we to stand in their way?

“We are proud of what we as a club have done to help develop Corey as a player and as a young man who is maturing into a leader amongst his peers. When we shared this news with the team the support for Corey and the well wishes were spontaneous and genuine, that is who we are. There would be no one happier if he was to succeed and play on the biggest stage, what a great endorsement of our programme and of Corey’s development that would be.”

Webster played a key role in the Breakers championship winning campaign last season and was a standout at the 2014 FIBA World Cup before again starring for the Tall Blacks through their recent campaign, including being named MVP at the Stankovic Cup in China. Despite these exploits, it may well have been the just completed Oceania Championship that convinced the Pelicans that the 26 year-old was worth a closer look.

“I think those games against Aussie were huge for me, those guys have proved themselves in the NBA and I competed well against them. It was a little bit of a tryout going against those guys, with scouts, agents and NBA teams watching you have to perform in those moments. That is the way I was looking at it too, knowing if I could perform someone was going to see it, they are established and have played in finals, Patty has won a championship, so that was huge for me. 

“Nothing has been achieved yet though, this is just a chance to show the coaches what I can do, it is up to me now to put my head down and make the most of the opportunity. I have to thank the club for their support and blessing and my local agent at Full Circle Sports Management and their NBA partner Bell Management International for pulling this all together. I just need to give this my best shot now.”

Little more than 48 hours since receiving the first call with the initial news, Webster will board a plane for the States on Saturday evening while the Breakers will continue their pre-season without missing a beat, with the Sydney Kings in town for three games in Hamilton, Invercargill and Auckland next week.

 

NZ Breakers Pre-season Series v Sydney Kings

Wednesday 9 September SKYCITY Breakers v Sydney Kings Claudelands Arena, Hamilton 7pm tip off Tickets from www.ticketek.co.nz

 

Friday 11 September SKYCITY Breakers v Sydney Kings ILT Stadium, Invercargill 7pm tip off Tickets from www.ticketdirect.co.nz

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