The Sherbrooke Suns are delighted to announce the signing of dynamic 6”9 American Kraig Shields who will make his professional debut down under in 2019.
Soon to turn 23, Shields divided his college basketball career between three schools, starting at NCAA Division 1 University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks which included National TV appearances against Minnesota and Marquette and games against NBA faces Kyle Kuzma, Jakob Poeltl and Delon Wright.
In his sophomore-year, he crossed to NCAA Division 2 St Edwards University located just 20 minutes from his hometown in Kyle, Texas where he increased his output posting a season high of 12pts (5/7fg) & 5rebs in a super-efficient 10 mins of action but couldn’t quite find his niche in a slower walk up methodical team.
In his junior year, following consultation with St Edwards assistant coach Taylor Land who played professionally in Australia himself, he found his way to NAIA school Wayland Baptist University, where he joined mid semester and posted a season high of 17pts (7/8fg) and 5rebs in 17 mins against Oklahoma Panhandle State on 15/1/18 and capped off a solid season with the Pioneers making the Elite 8 National Tournament.
Speaking on Shields, Coach Land spoke optimistically at the impact he could have knowing the Australian basketball landscape personally, “I love Kraig, he’s a great guy who is pretty quiet and low key off the court but kids really like him so he will be good around the club.”
At Wayland Baptist, Shields was guided by former SBL (WA) multiple All Star import Ty Harrelson who returned to the USA after completing a stellar five-year stint in Perth and applauded Shields work ethic where he saw major improvement across the year.
Ultimately Shields college experience is one that he looks back on fondly but admits it wasn’t everything he envisaged consistently adjusting to being the new guy on campus.
In the recent months Shields has continued his studies and recently returned from a tour with Identity Hoops which included Werribee Devils 2018 import Konor Kulas who promoted the prospect of coming to Australia.
The tour which spanned 21 days was conducted by a Christian based organisation which allowed Shields to not only play games against NCAA Division 2 and NAIA schools in Arizona and California but also connect with current and aspiring athletes looking to make the transition which will soon be his reality.
Tour coach Tyler Kennedy spoke with passion about the style of play Shields will bring to the Hills “He can absolutely tear the rim off the backboard! He could dunk with his elbows! He is a great guy and really good player.”
Speaking on his new marquee player Suns coach Ryan Rogers is confident that Shields will be a key ingredient in helping the club progress both on and off the court.
“Positionally Kraig will add great size but he’s very mobile and brings a unique skillset to our division which is an exciting prospect.”
“More importantly for the progression of our association as a whole, all references have come back with glowing reports about his character and personality so on that front we believe we have a real asset our juniors can connect with.”
Shields will arrive during January allowing him six weeks to acclimatise and build synergy with his new teammates in preparation for a tilt at the new look Division 2 in 2019.
Speaking on signing his first professional deal Shields said, “I’d like to thank Coach Rogers and the Suns organisation for the opportunity that they’ve given me to experience and play in the beautiful country of Australia. I’m looking forward to joining my teammates in the next few months as we get prepared to have a great season ahead”
A major part of Shields commitment will see him play an active weekly role within the community as the association prepares to unveil a number of new development programs and with the current project of a new four court home venue in Upwey proposed for completion later in 2019, the Suns are anticipating a bright future.