Mandurah Magic set to benefit from New Zealand recruit

New Zealand import James Paringatai has been added to the Mandurah Magic’s roster for the remainder of the State Basketball League season as the Magic look to make a push for a playoff spot.

The Mandurah Magic currently sit just one place off the bottom of the ladder after a horror run with injury decimated their last month of basketball.

The most notable injury is that of starting big man Taylor Mullenax, who has been sidelined for the remainder of the season.

But coach Jason Kyle still holds hopes of playing finals basketball.

“We have nine games left, and we need to win about eight of them to make the finals – that’s the mathematics of it,” he said.

Paringatai could go a long way to seeing Mandurah push for a top-eight position.

The former New Zealand National Basketball League player won three premierships with the Southland Sharks and captained the side for a period of time.

He stands at six feet, seven inches tall and can bully his way to the basket for both points and rebounds.

Coach Kyle was impressed with the big man’s training, but said he was anxious to see what Paringatai would bring to a game.

“We’re really excited – we think James is going to be a huge part of our side in the back end of this season,” he said.

“His leadership displayed at training so far has been great and we’re really keen to see him on game night.”

Paired with Mandurah’s top duo of Trevor Setty and Ben Smith, Paringatai could help form a big-three that has the potential to out-rebound and out-score most opponents.

The Magic take on the Kalamunda Eastern Suns this week, the only team below them on the ladder.

But coach Kyle wasn’t bullish about his side’s chances, saying the Magic would need to bring their best against the improving Suns.

“They (Kalamunda) have played some really good basketball over the past month, so our guys need to bring their A-game,” he said.

Kyle said his team would need to play to their strengths, gathering rebounds and restricting opposition scoring runs.

“Kalamunda are good at getting out in transition and putting up big scores, while we tend to play defensively and don’t score heavily much at all,” he said.

“I think the inclusion of James (Paringatai) along with Ben (Smith), who has played some stellar basketball for us this season, can really make an impact on the rebounds and stop their transition run.”

Tip-off for the game is scheduled for 8.30pm, Saturday at the Mike Barnett Sports Complex.