It's been a long time coming, but the Franklin Bulls welcome their first player to hit the milestone of 50 Bulls games. It's also an NBL milestone for Isaac Davidson, playing his 50th SalsNBL game Sunday June 11 against the Auckland Tuatara.
It all started in 2020 when Davidson joined the Bulls as one of the first ever signings to the regular NBL season roster. The season however was affected by Covid-19 and the nationwide lockdown, resulting in the award winning "SalsNBL Showdown", which was New Zealand's answer to the "Bubble" style league. Davidson played his first ever game for the Bulls, in the NBL, scoring 27 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Davidson lead the team to the quarter finals, with the team exiting that game, losing to the Taranaki Airs.
In 2021, Davidson re-signed with the Bulls, but due to his outstanding 2020 season, was recruited by the NZ Breakers as a development player. Covid-19 again disrupting the sporting landscape, with the Breakers having to play all games away from home in the Australian NBL's version of a bubble league. Davidson wouldn't join the Bulls until round 7, with the Bulls having lost a number of players to injury. He played 8 games and averaged 14 points and 6 rebounds.
2022, Isaac was able to compete for the full season, with Covid-19 becoming a lesser part of kiwi sporting life. Isaac playing most of the season, missing 4 games due to Tall Black selection, subsequently winning a bronze medal in the Fiba Asia Cup competition. The Bulls finishing just short of the playoffs. Davidson finishing with 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists.
This year, Davidson is part of Head Coach Daniel Sokolovsky's squad and is averaging 12 points, 7 rebounds and nearly three assists, shooting 36% from the 3.
A man who's achieved the 50 game milestone, GM of Basketball Mika Vukona, understands Isaac's value to the Bulls organisation, "Isaac has shown over the last couple of years the maturity and leadership that epitomises what a Bulls player should be, head down grind it out, not looking for anyone else’s recognition other then his teammates. Isaac continues to grow in every facet of his game and Reaching this milestone is an amazing achievement not only for the club but for Isaac himself.
Co-Founder of the Bulls, Scott Kelso says, Isaac has helped us build this team from scratch.
"It means a lot to us as a club to see Isaac achieve this milestone. He was our first signed player to suit up for us in 2020 and he's been with us ever since. That loyalty and commitment means a lot. He's seen us build, figure things out and has stuck with us. We appreciate this guy so much! I can see us, one day, hanging #12 from the Stockyard rafters.
Bulls Co-Founder and 2021 Bulls coach, Jamie Reddish Adds, "Issac’s loyalty to the club since day one is more than just signing, he plays hard every game and is proving to become a great leader for our group. His experience with the Breakers had a flow on effect with us and we are proud to have him suit up for the Bulls in his 50th game."
His 2023 coach Daniel Sokolovsky has coached Isaac at the Breakers and now at the Bulls and says he's the face of our club "I have only been a Franklin Bull for 1/5th the time that Isaac Davidson has, but I can’t imagine that there are many better people or players to represent this club.
It has been a privilege getting to coach someone of Isaac’s character and competitive make up. He cares deeply about being a great teammate, winning, and conducting himself in a professional manner.
He is an exceptional person who I am proud to have representing our club and our team as the face of long-term commitment and service to this community."
It wouldn't be right to not include a comment from Isaac's first ever SalsNBL coach, Liam Simmons, "Isaac congratulations on being the first Bull to make it to 50 games played. It couldn’t have happened to a better person and representative of the community and club. The significance of this milestone is huge; several years ago the Franklin Bulls NZNBL team was just an idea and dream (almost interrupted by COVID) - and to now have a player reach the 50 game milestone is a testament to the staying power of the Bulls organization and hard work of Isaac, the front office and community. Couldn’t be a better person or player to be the first to reach 50 games and no doubt there will be many more players to follow. Congrats Isaac and the organization.
The Bulls will mark Isaac's 50th game at the next home game vs the Sharks on the 18th of June at the Stockyard.