Sport

Tall order for import Iti

Ipswich Force new recruit Martin Iti and U12's player Cooper Norgrove, 10.
Ipswich Force new recruit Martin Iti and U12's player Cooper Norgrove, 10. David Nielsen
Ipswich Force basketball new recruit Martin Iti. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times
Ipswich Force basketball new recruit Martin Iti. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times David Nielsen

NEW recruit Martin Iti could be just what the Ipswich Force have been looking for.

Needing a player among the tallest in the Queensland Basketball League, the Force search is over.

The seven foot (213cm) tall Iti played for the NBL's Sydney Kings last year.

However, after not receiving the court time he was hoping for, he moved on, deciding to sign with Force.

With family nearby in Logan, and one of his good friends in Rory Sutton already signed on to play for the new-look Force, it was an easy decision for Iti.

The centre will be a key part of the Force this year and will be the team's tallest player for a number of seasons.

He moved to his mother's homeland of New Zealand to play before signing with the Kings.

"I played a bit for the Kings but not as much as I had hoped," he said.

"One of my mates from Sydney (Sutton) is on the team, so that was part for me coming here.

"That's one of the main reasons why I joined the team."

Iti played high school and college basketball in the United States before returning to his hometown of Sydney for the 2011-12 season.

He played initially for University of North Caroline at Charlotte for two years before leaving to attend New Mexico State University.

After graduating, he went undrafted in the 2008 NBA draft and moved to Holland to play for Rotterdam.

"I've played all over, played in America, I went to high school and college in the States," he said.

"I was there for five years playing college ball, it was a good experience."

The Force will be looking for Iti to be a mainstay around the net this season.

"Really aggressive around the basket. I just dunk the ball around the basket, block shots. Everything around the basket."

Force coach Andrew Summerville said height had been an issue for Force teams in recent years.

"There's not many guys in the QBL who are seven feet tall," he said. "He'll be a real weapon for us around the net."

While he wasn't a regular, Iti played 14 games in the NBL for the Kings.

While the centre has only been in Ipswich for a matter of days, he is already looking on putting down roots.

He is on the lookout for a job with the intention of staying in Ipswich.

Iti has a degree in social work and is looking for work that will see him helping local indigenous youth.

Player Profile: New Ipswich Force basketball player Martin Iti

  • Position: Centre.
  • College: University of North Caroline at Charlotte, New Mexico State University.
  • Hobbies off the court: "I like to go fishing, being outdoors pretty much. I like to be outdoors."
  • Favourite music: "Broad variety, mainly hip hop and RnB, I went to Europe so I don't mind techno."
  • Favourite player: Shaquille O'Neal.
Ipswich Force new recruit Martin Iti. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times
Ipswich Force new recruit Martin Iti. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times David Nielsen

Topics:  ipswich force (basketball), martin iti, queensland basketball league, sydney kings


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