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Woodside gunning for ANBL start

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/09/2016 Angelo Risso
Ben Woodside © Getty Images Ben Woodside

New Breakers import Ben Woodside says the guidance of fellow point guard and head coach Paul Henare will take his game to a new level.

Woodside, 31, joined the Breakers in June after seven seasons in European competitions, his most recent with Ankara-based club Turk Telekom.

The American will look to fill the shoes of compatriot and former star Cedric Jackson when his side starts its ANBL season at home to Jackson's new club, Melbourne United, on October 7.

Woodside told NZN he observed basketball through the same lens as Henare, a former ANBL-winning point guard with the Breakers and Tall Blacks.

Henare has taken up the head coaching role at the Breakers for the 2016-17 season after serving under Dean Vickerman as assistant for three years.

His presence and training would prove invaluable to Woodside over his first season in Auckland.

"His advice when watching film, especially all the individual stuff for me to work on, that's huge," Woodside said.

Woodside, a former US college basketballer with North Dakota State, was impressed by the Breakers' top-down professionalism and know-how.

Some of his previous clubs did not have the same high standards, he said.

"It's a trickle-down effect," Woodside said.

"It starts at the top and works its way through the whole organisation."

After a pre-season whitewash to the Brisbane Bullets on home soil, the Breakers travel to the Queensland capital this weekend for the inaugural Australian Basketball Challenge.

They will play Sydney Kings, Cairns Taipans and Adelaide 36ers in the space of four days.

Woodside said the side needed to use the pre-season tournament to work on its rebounding and offensive flow.

He also said he'd play through the discomfort of a heel injury he picked up in pre-season.

"It's an opportunity for us to look at things we can work on and improve, go back to the drawing boards and films," Woodside said.

"We were only together for 12 days before we played three games, so a lot of it is timing and getting in the offensive flow."

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