Mike Pero Nelson Giants forward Finn Delany is fast becoming one of the bright spots of the NBL season.
Even during the Giants’ recent losing streak, the 20-year-old 6 foot 6 inch Nelson College old boy has turned heads and established himself as a key man at both ends of the court.
That determination has seen him earn a two-year contract with the New Zealand Breakers last week.
Finn spent his basketball childhood wanting to have the cornrows hair, tattoos and swagger of NBA legend Allen Iverson.
“I was obsessed with him,” says Finn. “His style, the way he played, the way he looked.
“Every Christmas, and my Mum still has it written down somewhere, I used to ask to be like Allen Iverson.”
He says tussles with his brother were common.
“My brother was a great player in high school, but once I got to high school things changed and I don’t think he was too happy that I could dunk before him.”
Finn is shooting at 59 per cent this season and averaging more than 15 points a game in 2016 compared to just six points in 2015.
He’s also averaging seven rebounds a game compared to three last season.
Finn says his time as a developmental player at the Breakers has helped him become a more well-rounded player.
“I think my game awareness is better now,” he says. “I know what I’m good at, what I need to work on and how I can best contribute to the team.”
The Giants’ recent struggles seem worse than they are, he says.
“There’s frustration there as you’d expect with four losses, but it looks worse than it is,” Finn says. “We are fourth in the comp with a month to go, so we just have to pull ourselves out of it.”
Finn says playing alongside childhood heroes like Mika Vukona and Phill Jones was initially daunting, but both have had a massive impact on his career so far.
On Saturday night, Finn’s 26 points helped the Giants beat the Canterbury Rams 107-97 at the Trafalgar Centre.
This Friday the Giants travel to play Taranaki.