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Breakers sign Spurs Summer League coach

Updated: Jul 5

The NZ Breakers have a new head coach, Petteri Koponen from Finland
New NZ Breakers coach Petteri Koponen has a wide range of experience as a player and coach. PHOTO: FINLAND BASKETBALL

The new head coach for the NZ Breakers has been confirmed with Petteri Koponen taking over the role from the departed Mody Maor next month.


The 36-year-old from Finland is currently an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas this month,


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He has been identified as a star head coach of the future in the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament, where he has coached for two years, including taking his team to the final in 2022.


The invitation to join the Spurs came through those youth Euroleague tournaments where he impressed in front of scouts.


Koponen has signed a two year contracts with Breakers' owner Matt Walsh saying the club is lucky to have secured the services of someone who has been identified as one of the best young coaches in the world. 


"The head coaching position at the Breakers is one of the most sought-after jobs in basketball outside of the NBA, and we had amazing interest shown in the role over the last month,"


"My goal was to find the best coach to lead the Breakers, and I am very confident we have found the right person for the job.”



As a player, Koponen competed for six seasons in the Euro League, including seasons for European powerhouses Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and retired with a reputation as a top-class shooter.


Koponen's accolades include joining the EuroLeague's elite 90-50-40 club, a rare statistical achievement in which a player shoots 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from the arch and 90 percent from the line over the course of a regular season.


He won the EuroCup and made the All-EuroCup First Team in 2015, the Bundesliga in 2018, and the Spanish Cup in 2019.


"Being the head coach of the Breakers comes with a lot of responsibility," said Walsh.

"We ran an exhaustive search that included coaches from all over the world and included former NBA head coaches.


"Petteri was an incredible player who has seamlessly transitioned to coaching and shares my vision of growing the game of basketball in New Zealand.”


After finishing with the Spurs, Koponen will arrive in Auckland at the end of the month.

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