CORAL GABLES, Fla. - New Zealand native Sam Waardenburg has signed a grant-in-aid agreement with the University of Miami men’s basketball team, Head Coach Jim Larrañaga announced Wednesday.
Waardenburg, a forward from Henderson, New Zealand, will join the team immediately but is expected to begin competition with the Hurricanes for the 2017-18 season.
"Sam is a very skilled player with a high basketball IQ,” Larrañaga said. “He has the ability to play both inside and outside. He has great international experience and has competed against some of the best high school players from around the world including in the United States. We're excited about him joining us mid-year so he can make the adjustments to the American college game before competing next season."
In October, Waardenburg, a 205-pound, 6-foot-9-inch forward, won tournament MVP honors when he helped Rangitoto College win the SAS Secondary Schools National Championship. In the final game, he had 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.
Internationally, he has represented New Zealand in the 3x3 Under 18 World Championship in Kazakhstan, and was on both the Under 17 men’s team that won silver at the age-groups FIBA Oceania Championships, and the Under 16 men’s team that won bronze at the Australian State Championships.
In the summer of 2016, Waardenburg played in the adidas Nations Tournament in Los Angeles, averaging 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds in five outings. He was 7-of-11 from long range in the event and named one of the top 10 players of the camp. He also played in the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) Top 100 High School Basketball Camp in Virginia. He was also named the most outstanding player at both the Nike All Asia Camp in Beijing and the Basketball Without Borders Camp in Australia.
Waardenburg has spent time with the Supercity Rangers and the Breakers Academy, which led him to a role as a development player for the SKYCITY Breakers, and has played games in the United States with Harbour Basketball.
Waardenburg, who can step out and knock down the three or find the open teammate, will bring a strong pick-and-pop game to the Miami squad.
Waardenburg chose Miami over considerations from Virginia, SMU and Utah. He joins current Hurricane DJ Vasiljevic and incoming freshman Deng Gak, both of Australia, as the third player from the Australasia region of the South Pacific.
Waardenburg rounds out the four-player class of 2017, which includes three ESPN Top 100 players in guard Lonnie Walker (No. 19), guard Chris Lykes (52) and forward Deng Gak (93).