CoE Graduate Inks First NBL Contract

CoE Graduate Inks First NBL Contract

The National Basketball League’s Brisbane Bullets have scored the signature of Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (CoE) graduate, Tamuri Wigness on a two-year deal.

At the raw age of 18, Wigness has a wealth of experience playing in the elite basketball scene, always showcasing immense potential, skill, and Basketball IQ. A strong advocate for the Indigenous community, Wigness was on scholarship in the NBA Global Academy from April 2017 and then progressed through to the CoE Men’s Program on scholarship in January 2019 and graduated from the program on 31 July 2020.

The young guard will be the newest CoE alumni to join the Bullets. Wigness will take to the court with fellow CoE graduates Kian Dennis, Harry Froling, Callum Dalton, Tanner Krebs and Will Magnay. He will also be greeted by Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Alumni Anthony Drmic, Matthew Hodgson and Jason Cadee.

The Centre of Excellence has been a great help for my development as a basketballer and as a person. I will forever be grateful for what they’ve done,” Wigness said when asked about his time at the CoE.

Adam Caporn, Head Coach for the CoE (Men’s Program), is optimistic that Wigness has a bright future at the elite level.

Tamuri has had a fantastic career in Canberra and I am sure it’s only the beginning of big things for him,” said Caporn.

“He put great trust in our residential program and has grown tremendously on and off the court. He is a tremendous competitor and has genuine charisma that will make him a valuable addition to the Brisbane Bullets and the NBL.”

No stranger to representing Queensland, Wigness who grew up in Cairns, has played with North Queensland in numerous Australian Junior Championship tournaments including twice in the Under-16s (2016, 2017), Under-18s (2018) and earlier this year in the Under-20s (2020). However, now he will take to the big stage with the Bullets in Australia’s National Men’s League, which is set to be his biggest national appearance yet. Excited for the next phase, Wigness is honoured to represent his home state.

“I’m really happy and excited. I’ve been wanting to play at a pro level for a long time so I can’t wait to get started, and to finally sign a contract near home couldn’t get any better,” Wigness explained.

“It makes me feel real proud playing in the state that I grew up in…working hard to get to this level. But it’s going to be real happy for me to see the people that have helped me since I was young to finally see me on the big stage.”

Beyond his National success, Wigness has also been able to suit up in the green and gold to represent Australia at multiple prestigious National and International events including:

  • 2019 FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup
  • 2019 FIBA Under-17 Oceania Championship
  • 2018 FIBA Under-18 Asian Championship
  • 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Championship
  • 2018 FIBA Under-16 Asian Championship, where he averaged 14.9 points, four rebounds and 3.8 assists throughout the event to help lead Australia to gold.

To add further to his already vastly impressive resume, Wigness was a part of the NBA Global Academy also based at Basketball Australia’s CoE in Canberra.  He represented the program at various elite events that took place in USA, Italy and Spain from July 2017 until March 2020.

Director of the NBA Global Academy and AIS Alumni, Marty Clarke, speaks highly of the 180cm talented guard.

“The first thing you see when you watch Tamuri play is his elite quickness, his confident outlook and genuine strength. What you don’t see is his sensitive nature and his quiet desire to improve. The two sides of Tamuri that create a great balance and allow him to touch on the extreme brilliance without getting lost in it.

“His growth as a player and a person has been exciting to watch, but the fact he has scope to develop further makes him a must watch for the coming NBL season.

“As a member of the first intake at the NBA Global Academy, he helped establish a culture of competitiveness and hard work and should be proud of the legacy he has left for others to follow. He has been a pleasure to coach and a fun guy to be around.”

Eligible for the NBA draft next year, Wigness explained that playing in the NBA would exceed all his career aspirations.

“Playing in the NBA wouldn’t just be a dream fulfilled but also validation to the hard work I put in to get to that level,” he said.

With much instore for the young talent, Wigness is grateful to his mother and support system who have encouraged him throughout his journey.

“My mother has helped mould me into the man I am today, and I am forever grateful for what she has done for me. There has been a lot of people out there that has been a big help in my life, and you know who you are, and your work will always be remembered.”

Wigness now looks forward to making his professional debut for the Brisbane Bullets during the 2020/21 Hungry Jack’s NBL season.

Images used in this article courtesy of Cole Bennetts, Floyd Mallon & FIBA.