Earlier this year

Izayah Le'Afa Re-signs with South East Melbourne

Izayah Mauriohooho Le Afa has signed a new two year deal with the South East Melbourne Phoenix, riding an outstanding debut season as a development player to land himself a full roster spot.

"It's a big honour to re-sign for the next two years, I’m grateful for the opportunity, really keen to run it back with the group of guys we have It was a great experience this year being in that DP role and learn what it means to be a professional," he said When Le Afa signed his development player contract with the South East Melbourne Phoenix he could not have expected what would follow in his first NBL season.

His introduction to the NBL took the normal path for a DP, providing a body at training, sitting on the bench during games, observing and learning as much as possible.

“Coming in we were shipped out to Tassie, then we went to Perth and Adelaide for those first road trips. I was just watching from the sidelines, spectating, and getting the experience under my belt,” Le Afa said. Injuries thrust Le Afa into the spotlight and from second one he looked like he more than belonged.

His breakout game came in a loss to the Sydney Kings where he scored 29 points and went 8 for 12 from deep.

“I came in during the season and tried to do the little things like creating energy for our team, the other things like the shooting and offence were just a result of all that,” he said.

While it was a disappointing end to the season for the Phoenix, Le Afa is excited to see what next year brings for the boys from the Heartland.

“It was a big year, and tough at times with Civod-19 and moving in and out of Melbourne, overall, we had a solid year. We didn’t get the outcome we wanted but I’m keen to see what we can do next year.”

Le Afa joins Kyle Adnam and Mitch Creek in re-committing to the Phoenix in the past week.

Topic #48766 | Report this topic

Earlier this year

Very interesting. Would this mean that they will likely get rid of Gibbo? I assume they'd also bring in a stud import PG?

Reply #855830 | Report this post

Earlier this year

Good to see him take advantage of his opportunities and now get rewarded.

What's Wetzell's situation- did he sign a 1 or 2 year? If he's not re-signed, he's priority number one.

Reply #855832 | Report this post

Earlier this year

You'd think this is the end for Gibbo and Stephens at Phoenix, I think both could add value to a roster but shocked that Phoenix kept both he and Adnam as he'd have some serious offers to consider you'd imagine.

Reply #855833 | Report this post

Earlier this year

Beegee, "I assume they'd also bring in a stud import PG?".

Is Sykes not avail/required? He's fairly "stud", fully import and a scoring-PG.

I also ask why Le'afa would sign for 2 years while the team gets a starting PG, already have their 1st back-up, also for 2 years, which makes him 3rd-up.

Or, is it that t

Reply #855836 | Report this post

Earlier this year

I expect gibbo and stephens gone. Gibbo media / retire or Tassie. Stephens has a team option. Yanni has player option expect to opt in if no europe offers. Le'afa is a combo guard expect import 1,3,5 maybe Rowdy comes back idk.

Reply #855837 | Report this post

Earlier this year

Everyone was assuming that Gibbo would be a JackJumpers target anyway, right? This makes it that bit more likely.

Loved what Le'Afa did this season and happy to see him re-sign with the team that gave him the shot.

Reply #855838 | Report this post

Earlier this year

@Rob T

That's what I meant by my question, will SEM bring on a stud import PG, such as Sykes (I personally liked what he did).

Reply #855839 | Report this post

Earlier this year

Wetzell(Player Option)/Pineau

Strong team and good continuity in the roster, with Gliddon, Creek, Adnam and Le'Afa all continuing from this season. Pineau too although he only played one game. Nail the import selections and they'll be tough again in 2021-22.

Reply #855852 | Report this post

Earlier this year

Forgot Te Rangi. He's signed for next season too.

Reply #855853 | Report this post

Earlier this year

Gliddon? Unfortunately his agent has it over everyone so he continues to get paid for expectations instead of actual delivery.

Reply #855858 | Report this post

Earlier this year

Gliddon had a better season than Broekhoff.

Reply #855861 | Report this post

Earlier this year

Really liked Le'Afa’s game this year. Competitive with good skills. I like the signing but feel SEM’s backcourt looks a bit small with Adnam and Sykes, all tenacious and aggressive but presents some defensive issues I think.

Reply #855969 | Report this post

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