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.