The champion New Zealand Breakers have signed 30-year-old guard Shane McDonald for the upcoming Australian National Basketball League season.
McDonald, who works fulltime as a physical education teacher and basketball coach at Maribyrnong College in Melbourne as well as playing with the Nunawading Spectres in the South East Australian Basketball League, has been signed in place of departing fellow Australian guard Rhys Carter.
McDonald's signing leaves just one roster place remaining to be filled by the Breakers for the 2015/16 NBL season.
The 1.88 metre tall (6'2") guard says he would not have entertained the offer from any club other than the Breakers, as they look to win a fifth championship in six years.
McDonald says he's followed the ANBL and really admired from afar what the Breakers have been doing, and they've developed a fantastic culture.
"That was something that attracted me. In fact I probably wouldn't have gone to any other team on a similar deal but when one of the best sporting organisations over the last 10 years asked me to suit up, the attraction to come and see what it is all about and what they have done to be successful was massive."
Breakers head coach Dean Vickerman says when they understood they couldn't retain Carter, he reached out to McDonald, who he coached before and won an Australian Under-20 championship with.
"That title was a long time ago but I always hoped I would get the opportunity to coach Shane again because he plays the game the right way and enjoys passing the ball as much as scoring," says Vickerman.
"The qualities I was looking for in this role are a feisty defender, have the ability to attack pressure and make great decisions, playing at a high tempo, to be a constant three point threat and to possess the experience to lead the team when Cedric (Jackson) is off court. I believe Shane meets all these requirements and also offers a unique skill set with his ability to play the game as a left hander but shoot right handed."
McDonald has ANBL experience with the Perth Wildcats and Singapore Slingers, as well as a brief two-game stint with the Melbourne Tigers.
He says there are advantages in signing such a contract at 30 years of age with 10 years of SEABL experience behind him.
"I have a little bit to prove, I will come in hungry and willing to do whatever is asked of me. The difference for me as a 'rookie' is I have the experience and know the game pretty well, I can come in and have an impact and fill any role asked of me. Obviously the Breakers look like being a great team again with most of the roster returning from last season, I know I will fit in where required."
Given the SEABL runs in the off season of the ANBL, McDonald has managed his two stints with Singapore in 2007/08 and 2008/09 and Perth (late 2009), with Melbourne his home base for studies, before he moved into his teaching career.
Vickerman believes the Breakers will present a different threat to the championship winning roster of last season.
"Last year we used a rotation of three players at the point guard and shooting guard positions, this year we will have four players in Cedric, Corey (Webster), Reuben (Te Rangi) and Shane who all offer different strengths and will allow us great versatility in the backcourt."
McDonald will join the club in August in time for pre-season training.