Auckland Tuatara turns to hoops and joins the 2022 Sal’s NBL

First baseball and now basketball! The Auckland Tuatara brand will extend to become part of the Sal’s NBL from 2022.

This comes after the Tuatara have purchased the NBL licence from the Huskies owners.

A majority of the Auckland Tuatara baseball shareholders are now part of a consortium that will re-brand the Auckland team as the Tuatara and play at Eventfinda Stadium on Auckland’s North Shore.

Tuatara owner Regan Wood says the idea has been in the planning stages for many months.

“We have been talking to the Sal’s NBL for about a year now, sharing information and ideas.

“As we’ve had more to do with the Sal’s NBL, we started to realise the enormous potential of the League, the unique opportunity to spread our brand across the basketball landscape and be part of one of the best domestic sporting competitions in New Zealand.

“There has been massive growth in the Sal’s NBL in recent times and we are very excited about what the future holds.

“There is a natural fit with the Tuatara being in Auckland and specifically the North Shore, with the region being the best basketball nursery in the country.”

Wood says the owners’ goal is to bring the vibrant, fan-first mentality from baseball across to basketball and build a franchise that Auckland basketball fans can be proud of.

“We are also very aware of the need to create and be part of a pathway for our region’s leading players, and we will work with the local associations and leading schools to ensure that we set high standards in this area.”

Aaron Young, who was the incumbent Huskies head coach, will stay on as head coach of the re-branded Tuatara and will immediately begin work on assembling his coaching staff and playing roster.

“Everyone we spoke to thinks incredibly highly of Aaron, and it made sense for him to stay on as coach,” Wood said.

“He did a great job with a young team in 2021 and we think he will continue that with our group around him.

“We like what he brings to the role, and we share the same philosophies around what direction the franchise needs to head in.”

Further announcements regarding more appointments, sponsorships and memberships will be made in the coming weeks.

Sal’s NBL GM Huw Beynon said bringing a well-established brand from another code was an enticing pitch and the consortium had already proven their abilities with the baseball team.

“Regan and his team have an exciting and ambitious vision for basketball and sport in Tāmaki Makaurau. We share that vision and are delighted to welcome them to the Sal’s NBL.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the Tuatara on court as they continue to entertain sports fans throughout Auckland.”

The Sal’s NBL men’s league will tip off on 7 April. The 2022 draw is yet to be announced.