The New Zealand Breakers have signed the player they hope will fill the hole left by American star Cedric Jackson for the next NBL basketball season.
The Breakers have put pen to paper with American point guard Ben Woodside, their first import signing for next season.
The 30-year-old Woodside will make his first appearance in the NBL, having played in France, Slovenia, Georgia, Turkey and Spain.
A graduate of North Dakota State, Woodside was given a strong recommendation from past team-mate and former Tall Black and American college star Kirk Penney, who is returning to the Breakers on a three year deal.
Coach Paul Henare said he's delighted with Woodside's signing.
"When we set about recruiting a new point guard, one of the key aspects that was non-negotiable was experience. We need a player to lead us around the floor and make the right decisions in pressure cooker situations. The reputation of the club and the fact we had a willing ally in Kirk certainly helped, Ben is attracted to who we are and what we stand for as much as we were interested in him."
Returning club favourite Penney can't wait to team up again with his former team-mate in Spain and Turkey.
"Ben is a true point guard that relishes leading the team and getting his team-mates involved", said Penney.
"He plays with a lot of passion at both ends of the court and I personally loved playing with him in Spain and Turkey. I'm pumped he's decided to come to the Breakers and I believe all NBL fans will enjoy watching him play this season."
Woodside played with Penney on two separate occasions and the respect between the two is mutual, as is the desire of Woodside to play in the Australian competition.
"I've always wanted to experience the Australian/New Zealand side of the world and the Australian League is something I've wanted to pursue and experience.
The conversation started with my ex-teammate Kirk Penney. I'm absolutely thrilled and excited to team up with KP again. He is a great friend of to me and my family. We've always stayed in touch and throughout my career I have loved playing with him. He's an incredible player but an even better person and someone I've always had full respect for."
Henare said Woodside will bring a very different look to the club.
"He is a totally different style of player to Cedric (Jackson), both are of course very good in their own right. But what Ben brings is he is a very good outside shooter and very strong in pick and roll situations and thrives in having good shooters around him, which we will have. He will play the game in a different way but will have an immediate impact on the floor."
Woodside will join the Breakers on September 1st for their pre-season campaign.
The club has now signed 9 of the 11 full-time roster positions, with just an import power forward and one local spot left to fill.