Updated: Mar 8, 2022
The Mike Pero Nelson Giants have locked in promising young Kiwi centre Jordan Schwalger. The 6’10 20-year-old was born and raised in Australia but has New Zealand citizenship through his father.
Schwalger has come through the junior programmes on the Gold Coast and Brisbane, spending time under the tutelage of Tall Black great and FIBA Hall of Fame member Pero Cameron. Indeed, it was Cameron that brought Schwalger to the attention of Giants’ Head Coach, Michael Fitchett.
“I was discussing Kiwi players with Pero one day and Jordan’s name came up. We were in the market for a Kiwi centre after both Rissetto and Leger left us in the offseason, so it made sense to do some more research on Jordan. It turned out Jordan played NBL1 alongside Mika Vukona in 2021, so Mika was also able to provide a recommendation”.
“Jordan is a long and rangy young man. His game film shows an ability to play above the rim, which I’m sure our fans will find exciting. He is somewhat of an unfinished product at the moment, but I think that with a season or two at the NZNBL level he really does have a bright future in the game”.
When the Giants came calling, Schwalger had already been primed by Vukona for the move across the Tasman.
“I loved playing with Mika for the Southern District Spartans last year. He is such a respected figure and that was obvious from when I first met him. He mentored me a little bit throughout the season which was cool. When he mentioned Nelson was a possibility we sat down and talked it through, and it makes sense as the next step for my basketball career”.
Schwalger has high hopes for the 2022 Sal’s NBL season.
“I really want to push myself this year. Getting away from home gives me a good chance to focus on basketball and really pick up my training. I want to improve my body and athleticism as well as my skill set.”
Fitchett sees Schwalger playing a big role for the Giants in 2022.
“Jordan looks great after his first couple of hit outs with us. He did not shrink on the flight over which is always nice! He is very bouncy and should offer us some shot blocking. He has very nice shooting touch and I can see him eventually becoming a good 3-point shooter. But right now, it’s just a matter of putting in the hard yards for the next 7 or 8 weeks before the season starts”.
In addition to working hard in the gym and on the court, Schwalger will be getting out to a number of local schools to coach our next generation of Giants and Sparks.
Thank you to Not Just Concrete for returning as a Player Sponsor for 2022. Jordan will wear your brand proudly and we hope to all be living up to your slogan – “Do it once, do it right”!