NZ basketball player catches Iceland’s eye

Everard Bartlett, a 21-year-old basketball player from the LPG Hawks in New Zealand is weighing up his options and thinking about playing ball next year for Iceland.

The Hawks guard was recently captain for the New Zealand team in the World University Games and is getting offers from clubs all around Europe.

Bartlett told SportToday, “I’m pretty sure it will be Iceland.”

If he takes the deal with the Nordic country, he would leave Hawke’s Bay at the end of the month but he could return for the 2008 NZ National Basketball League campaign with the Hawks.

Iceland, however, is looking promising for the young player. “I’ve been given a contract and all I have to do is sign it now and send it away. It would be a great experience to go over and get my foot in the door on the international scene,” he said.

“One of my career goals was to make it to Europe and play in the big leagues over there but, shucks, I never thought I’d see it this soon. I have to go as an import and that’s quite a lot of pressure when you’re this young,” Bartlett said. “When you’re over as an import you have to be scoring straight away, otherwise they’ll just put you on a plane and bring another guy in. But it would be a great experience for me and I’m excited and nervous at the same time.”

If Bartlett heads north, he will be the first player from the Hawks to hit Iceland.

“I don’t even know where Iceland is,” Bartlett admitted. “I spoke to Clifton [Bush] ….. and he was giving me a heads up and what it’s like. He told me it would be a great chance to put my name out there and that it would be cold. That’s all I know about the place.”

Bartlett’s performance at the World University Games has got other clubs interested in his abilities. “The Iceland offer didn’t come as a result of what I did at the uni games,” he said, “but the interest from the other teams did. Now I just have to look at all the offers and decide which is the best one for me.”

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