This will be at least the third stint in the NBA for the journeyman.
I say at least third stint, because it depends on what you count as a stint. The New Zealand native lasted four days of a ten day contract for the Heat in November of 2003 and played four games for the Clippers while on the roster for a week in ’04-’05.
He has also played for Asheville and Sioux Falls in the D-League and has twice led the NBA Summer League in three-point shooting. The Spurs signed him after he played well for the New Zealand national team, the Tall Blacks, in the FIBA World Championships. (This nickname is brilliant. The national rugby team in New Zealand are the All Blacks. The soccer team? The All Whites. And yes, much like the rugby team, the basketball team does the haka before games.)
American fans will know Penney best from his time at the University of Wisconsin. He was a first team All Big-10 in his junior and senior seasons, and was an honorable mention All-American his senior year. In 2000 he was on the Wisconsin team that made the Final Four.
Since then he has played professionally in the New Zealand National Basketball League, leading the league in scoring and winning the league’s MVP award in 2009. He was an All-NBL selection in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
Penney is 6’5″ and is in the crowded competition for the shooting guard position. He is one of six guys on the roster in the 6’5″-6’6″ and 205-225 pound range, including veteran Manu Ginobili, and rookies James Anderson and Gary Neal. Penney is a great shooter and is going to have to rely on that to make the Spurs’ regular season roster.
The Spurs had their media day today, start camp in earnest tomorrow, and start their pre-season schedule with a game against the Houston Rockets on October 7th.
Oh, and for what it’s worth, to borrow from an old Dennis Miller line, I wrote this blog outward from the phrase “Tall Blacks.”
About the Author
Written by Gabriel Rodriguez
Born in Germany, early childhood in NYC, raised in the D.C. area, currently reside in Charlottesville, VA. Big fan of the NY Giants and San Antonio Spurs.