Tai Wesley

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Tai Wesley
No. 42 – Wellington Saints
Position Power forward
League NZNBL
Personal information
Born (1986-05-13) May 13, 1986 (age 30)
Orem, Utah
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Listed weight 240 lb (109 kg)
Career information
High school Provo (Provo, Utah)
College Utah State (2007–2011)
NBA draft 2011 / Undrafted
Playing career 2011–present
Career history
2011–2012 EiffelTowers Den Bosch
2012–2013 SPO Rouen Basket
2013–2014 SPM Shoeters Den Bosch
20142015 Southland Sharks
20142016 New Zealand Breakers
2016–present Wellington Saints
2016–present Melbourne United
Career highlights and awards

Tai William Evans Wesley (born May 13, 1986) is an American professional basketball player for the Wellington Saints of the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL). He played college basketball for Utah State University, where he was named the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2011. Wesley is the younger brother of Mekeli Wesley, the 2001 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year. Wesley also plays for the Guam national team.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Orem, Utah to a Rotuman father, Hiagi, and an American mother, Susan, Wesley lived in Guam from age five to age eleven when his father worked at the University of Guam.[2][3]

High school career[edit]

Wesley attended Provo High School in Provo, Utah. As a senior in 2003–04, he averaged 16.7 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two blocks and one steal per game. He was named tournament MVP after he led Provo to the state title while averaging 19.3 points in four games. He was later named Mr. Basketball in the state of Utah by the Deseret News and the 4A Most Valuable Player by the Salt Lake Tribune.[4]

College career[edit]

After redshirting the 2004–05 season, Wesley did not join the Utah State Aggies until 2007–08 after he went on a two-year Mormon mission to Oaxaca, Mexico. In his freshman season, he shot 63.5% from the field, ranking sixth all-time at Utah State for a single-season. He also scored in double-figures 18 times, including three 20-point games. In 35 games (24 starts), he averaged 9.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.[4][5]

In his sophomore season, he was named to the WAC's all-tournament team and earned NABC All-District 6 second team honors. In 35 games (all starts), he averaged 12.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game.[4][5]

In his junior season, he was named to the WAC's all-tournament team for the second-straight year and earned All-WAC first team and NABC All-District 6 second team honors. In 35 games (all starts), he averaged 13.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 blocks in 27.5 minutes per game.[4][5]

In his senior season, he earned All-WAC first team honors for the second-straight year. In 34 games, he averaged 14.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 blocks in 29.2 minutes per game.[5] In the 2011 WAC Men's Basketball Tournament semi-final, Wesley scored two free throws in the final seconds to defeat San Jose State 58-54.[6]

Professional career[edit]

Europe[edit]

On June 15, 2011, Wesley signed a one-year deal with EiffelTowers Den Bosch of the Dutch Basketball League.[7][8] The next day, he attended a pre-draft workout with the Minnesota Timberwolves.[9][10] In 2011–12, he played 41 games for Den Bosch, averaging 13.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.

In July 2012, Wesley signed a one-year deal with SPO Rouen Basket of the LNB Pro B.[11]

In August 2013, Wesley signed a one-year deal with SPM Shoeters Den Bosch, returning to the club for a second stint.[12][13] In April 2014, he was named to the 2014 All-DBL Team.[14]

New Zealand[edit]

Southland Sharks[edit]

On June 5, 2014, Wesley signed with the Southland Sharks for the rest of the 2014 New Zealand NBL season.[15] On November 7, 2014, he re-signed with the Southland Sharks for the 2015 New Zealand NBL season.[16] On April 14, 2015, he was named co-Player of the Week for Round 2 alongside Taranaki Mountainairs forward Aaron Fuller.[17] On June 18, he earned co-Player of the Week honors again, this time for Round 11 alongside Torrey Craig of the Wellington Saints.[18] He went on to earn Final Four MVP honors after helping the Sharks win the 2015 championship.[19]

In 28 games for the Sharks over two seasons, Wesley averaged 17.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks per game.[20]

New Zealand Breakers[edit]

On July 22, 2014, Wesley signed a one-year deal with the New Zealand Breakers of the Australian National Basketball League.[21][22] On December 31, 2014, he was named Player of the Week for Round 12 after scoring a season-high 23 points against the Sydney Kings on December 26.[23] He appeared in all 32 games for the Breakers in 2014–15, averaging 8.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game,[24] helping the Breakers win the league championship for the fourth time in five seasons.

On May 15, 2015, Wesley re-signed with the Breakers for the 2015–16 season.[25] The American-born, Guam-qualified, Fijian-bloodlined tough guy was experimented at the centre position by head coach Dean Vickerman during the 2015 Pre-season Blitz after Wesley improved his fitness and lowered his weight during the off-season.[26] He started the regular season in good form, but was ruled out for two to three weeks on November 12 with appendicitis.[27] He returned to action a month later and helped the Breakers fight back from an 11–12 record in mid-January to claim fourth spot on the ladder.[28] In the playoffs, the Breakers defeated first-placed Melbourne United in the semi-finals with a 2–0 sweep, moving on to their fifth Grand Final appearance in six years. There they faced their arch rivals the Perth Wildcats, a best-of-three series where they lost Game 1 in Perth 82–76, fought out a Game 2 72–68 win in Auckland to level the series, and then lost Game 3 in Perth 75–52.[29] He appeared in 26 games for the Breakers in 2015–16, averaging 11.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.

Wellington Saints[edit]

On January 13, 2016, Wesley signed with the Wellington Saints for the 2016 New Zealand NBL season.[30] He helped the Saints win their ninth title and earned back-to-back Final Four MVP honors for his efforts. In 16 games for the Saints in 2016, he averaged 15.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.5 blocks per game.[31]

On March 8, 2017, Wesley re-signed with the Saints for the 2017 season.[32]

Melbourne United[edit]

On May 27, 2016, Wesley signed a two-year deal with Melbourne United.[33] He made his debut for United in their season opener on October 7, 2016, scoring a game-high 15 points off the bench in a 76–71 loss to the Breakers in Auckland.[34] A week later, on October 14, Wesley scored a season-high 18 points in a 98–87 win over the Adelaide 36ers.[35] He scored in double figures 15 times during the 2016–17 season, but after averaging 10.6 points per game over the first 21 games of the season, Wesley's form dropped over the final seven contests, as he failed to score in double figures and averaged a mere 3.4 points per game. United finished the regular season with a 13–15 record and subsequently missed out on a playoff spot. Wesley appeared in all 28 games for United in 2016–17, averaging 8.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

National team career[edit]

Wesley plays internationally for the Guam national basketball team.[1] In 2015, he helped Guam win gold at the South Pacific Games.[36]

Career statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played  MPG  Minutes per game  FG%  Field goal percentage
 3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game
 PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high     Led the league
Year Team League GP MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2011–12 Netherlands Den Bosch DBL 41 26.8 .577 .364 .558 6.1 2.4 1.7 1.0 13.4
2012–13 France Rouen LNB Pro B 33 25.1 .583 .400 .688 5.4 2.4 1.2 .8 12.9
2013–14 Netherlands Den Bosch DBL 45 23.8 .585 .190 .720 5.8 3.3 1.7 .8 14.1
2014 New Zealand Southland NZNBL 8 28.1 .500 .200 .714 9.4 2.5 1.1 .8 16.0
2014–15 New Zealand NZ Breakers ANBL 32 18.4 .505 .154 .632 4.8 1.5 .3 .7 8.0
2015 New Zealand Southland NZNBL 20 30.5 .658 .400 .628 9.5 2.5 1.4 1.8 18.4
2015–16 New Zealand NZ Breakers ANBL 26 21.9 .456 .302 .710 4.9 1.9 .8 .6 11.7
2016 New Zealand Wellington NZNBL 16 29.3 .532 .318 .522 6.4 3.0 1.9 1.5 15.0

Personal[edit]

Wesley is the son of Hiagi and Susan Wesley, and is one of seven children. His father is Fijian of Rotuman descent.[37] He is the younger brother of former Brigham Young standout Mekeli Wesley, Utah Valley State graduate Russell Wesley, and 2003 all-state selection Tika Wesley.[4]

Wesley and his wife, Chyna, have a son named Major.[38][39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Guam's Tai Wesley joins New Zealand NBL". FoxSportsPulse.com. July 17, 2014. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Q+A With Tai Wesley". NZBreakers.com.nz. NBL.com.au. July 22, 2014. Archived from the original on August 9, 2014. Retrieved July 22, 2014. 
  3. ^ Hinton, Marc (July 23, 2014). "Wesley arrival gives Breakers food for thought". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Tai Wesley Bio". UtahStateAggies.com. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Tai Wesley Stats". Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Utah State fights off San Jose State for spot in WAC final". ESPN.com. March 11, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2011. 
  7. ^ "EiffelTowers strikt Amerikaan Tai Wesley". OmroepBrabant.nl (in Dutch). June 15, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Tai Wesley signs 1 year deal with Dutch team". usustats.com. June 15, 2011. Retrieved June 28, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Wolves to workout Kanter, Williams on Thursday". USAToday.com. June 14, 2011. Retrieved June 28, 2011. 
  10. ^ "USU Hoops: Wesley's NBA look". SLTrib.com. June 16, 2011. Retrieved June 28, 2011. 
  11. ^ "ShamSports.com: Tai Wesley player profile". ShamSports.com. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  12. ^ "SPM Shoeters add Tai Wesley, David Gonzalvez". Sportando.com. August 7, 2013. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Oude bekenden Wesley en Gonzalvez terug in Den Bosch". BD.nl (in Dutch). August 7, 2013. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Meeste seizoenprijzen naar GasTerra Flames". iBasketball.nl (in Dutch). April 21, 2014. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  15. ^ Savory, Logan (June 5, 2014). "Southland Sharks bulk up their sagging stocks". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  16. ^ Savory, Logan (November 7, 2014). "Southland Sharks snare Wesley for second stint". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  17. ^ "WESLEY AND FULLER ARE JOINT PLAYER'S OF THE WEEK". Basketball.org.nz. April 14, 2015. Retrieved April 14, 2015. 
  18. ^ "CRAIG AND WESLEY WIN WEEKLY AWARD". Basketball.org.nz. June 18, 2015. Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  19. ^ Hyslop, Liam (July 5, 2015). "Southland Sharks beat Wellington Saints in tense NBL final". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved July 5, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Player statistics for Tai Wesley – NZNBL". FoxSportsPulse.com. Archived from the original on January 13, 2016. Retrieved January 13, 2016. 
  21. ^ "BREAKERS SIGN GUAM INTERNATIONAL TO ROSTER". NZBreakers.com.nz. NBL.com.au. July 22, 2014. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved July 22, 2014. 
  22. ^ "New Zealand Breakers sign power forward Tai Wesley". 3News.co.nz. July 22, 2014. Retrieved July 22, 2014. 
  23. ^ "R12 Player of the Week: Tai Wesley". NBL.com.au. December 31, 2014. Archived from the original on December 31, 2014. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Player statistics for Tai Wesley – ANBL". FoxSportsPulse.com. Retrieved January 13, 2016. 
  25. ^ "BREAKERS ADD ANOTHER TO THE CLASS OF 2015/16". NZBreakers.com.nz. NBL.com.au. May 15, 2015. Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved May 15, 2015. 
  26. ^ Hinton, Marc (October 4, 2015). "Small ball rules as NZ Breakers chase another Aussie NBL championship". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  27. ^ Hinton, Marc (November 12, 2015). "Setback for Breakers as forward Tai Wesley ruled out after appendix op". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved November 12, 2015. 
  28. ^ Hinton, Marc (February 15, 2016). "In-form Tai Wesley expects double trouble from Melbourne in NBL semis". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved February 15, 2016. 
  29. ^ "GF3 REPORT: WILDCATS BREAK NZ HOODOO FOR ANOTHER TITLE". NBL.com.au. March 6, 2016. Retrieved March 6, 2016. 
  30. ^ Hyslop, Liam (January 13, 2016). "Wellington Saints pull off major coup with signing of Tai Wesley for NBL season". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved January 13, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Player statistics for Tai Wesley". SportsTG.com. Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  32. ^ Hyslop, Liam (March 8, 2017). "Star-studded Wellington Saints team roll into season with only one import - by choice". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved March 8, 2017. 
  33. ^ "TAI WESLEY UNITES WITH MELBOURNE". NBL.com.au. May 27, 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  34. ^ "GRITTY BREAKERS SMOTHER UNITED". NBL.com.au. October 7, 2016. Retrieved October 7, 2016. 
  35. ^ "MELBOURNE HOLDS OFF SIXERS FOR FIRST WIN". NBL.com.au. October 14, 2016. Retrieved March 8, 2017. 
  36. ^ Hinton, Marc (September 3, 2015). "Slimmed down Tai Wesley aims for expanded role with New Zealand Breakers". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  37. ^ "Tai Wesley a prize catch for Southland Sharks". Stuff.co.nz. June 14, 2014. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  38. ^ Hinton, Marc (November 10, 2014). "NZ Breakers still mad but satisfied with NBL's response to referee howler". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  39. ^ Hurley, Bevan (January 31, 2016). "'Major' victory for basketball star as Internal Affairs drops baby name challenge". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved January 31, 2016. 

External links[edit]