Tom Cowie has worn the mantle of one of the south’s top basketball prospects for years. Today, on his 20th birthday, he takes another step in his promising career, signing on to line up for his third NBL season for the SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks.
The talented point guard played for the Canterbury Rams in the Sharks’ absence from last season’s shortened NBL Showdown competition in Auckland and he is highly excited about pulling Southland’s colours back on in this year’s Sal’s National Basketball League.
“Last year I learnt so much. It was the first chance I have had to play regular minutes and to be honest I don’t feel like I played as well as I could so that has really added fuel for this year. I’m still young and it was a step up in the pace of the game and just how physical it was so I got a lot better at backing myself and handling the pressure,” he said.
“Jill (Bolger, Sharks’ General Manager) has told me for years that she hopes I can become the first Southlander to hold down a regular starting role in the Sharks and that’s what I want to keep working towards this year.”
He has the best possible mentor to further develop his game this year in the form of Head Coach Rob Beveridge.
“Everyone talks about the high regard he (Beveridge) is held in and I can’t wait to learn from him. He’s going to be great for our culture here and individually I want to take in as much as I can to take some big steps this season,” Cowie said.
The admiration is mutual, with Beveridge excited by the former Junior Tall Blacks’ potential.
“Tom is one player I am really excited to coach this season. There’s no doubt he is one of our best local up and coming products. I can see he is a very solid hard-nosed scoring guard who has a huge future ahead of him. To have him work alongside players like import Courtney Belger, he is going to learn a lot and become a great leader for the club moving forward,” Beveridge said.
Cowie joins fellow locals Connor Coll and the evergreen Andrew Wheeler in this season’s squad with two local development roles to be announced next week.
The SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks open the season on the road in Nelson on Monday 26 April with its first home game at ILT Stadium Southland against the Taranaki Mountainairs on Thursday 29 April at 7:30pm. More details can be found at sharksbasketball.co.nz.