Kirk Penney

Kirk Penney

Penney with Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2005
No. 6 New Zealand Breakers
Position Shooting guard / Small forward
League NBL
Personal information
Born (1980-11-23) 23 November 1980
Auckland, New Zealand
Nationality New Zealand
Listed height 196 cm (6 ft 5 in)
Listed weight 98 kg (216 lb)
Career information
High school Westlake Boys
(Auckland, New Zealand)
College Wisconsin (1999–2003)
NBA draft 2003 / Undrafted
Playing career 1998–present
Career history
1998–2000 North Harbour Kings
2003 Miami Heat
2003–2004 Gran Canaria
2004 Asheville Altitude
2004–2005 Los Angeles Clippers
2005 Asheville Altitude
2005–2006 Maccabi Tel Aviv
2006–2007 Žalgiris Kaunas
2007 ALBA Berlin
2007–2010 New Zealand Breakers
2010 Sioux Falls Skyforce
2010–2011 New Zealand Breakers
2011–2012 Baloncesto Fuenlabrada
2012–2013 TED Ankara Kolejliler
2013–2014 Trabzonspor
2015 Baloncesto Sevilla
2015–2016 Illawarra Hawks
2016–present New Zealand Breakers
Career highlights and awards

Kirk Samuel Penney (born 23 November 1980) is a New Zealand professional basketball player for the New Zealand Breakers of the Australian National Basketball League (NBL). During an outstanding college career with the University of Wisconsin, Penney helped the Badgers to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in his senior year and two Big 10 conference titles, and was twice named all-conference. He represented New Zealand at the Sydney Olympics and averaged 16.9 points at the World Championships at Indianapolis in 2002. He became the second Kiwi in the NBA when he appeared briefly for the Miami Heat in 2003, and has since played professionally in Spain, the NBA Development League, Israel, Lithuania, Germany and Turkey. He was also named New Zealand NBL Rookie of the Year in 1998 when he helped North Harbour to the grand final.[1]

Early life

Born in the Auckland suburb of Milford, Penney attended Westlake Boys High School and played junior basketball for the North Harbour Basketball Association, joining their New Zealand NBL team, the North Harbour Kings, in 1998 as a 17-year-old. He earned NZNBL Rookie of the Year honours that year and helped the Kings reach the grand final.[2] He played a further season for the Kings in 1999 before leaving for the United States to begin his college career with the University of Wisconsin.

College career

As a freshman playing for the Wisconsin Badgers during the 1999–2000 season, Penney had a minimal role under coach Dick Bennett, but still helped his team reach the NCAA Final Four while averaging 3.7 points and 1.4 rebounds in 34 games. He returned to New Zealand following his freshman season and re-joined the North Harbour Kings. He played just six games for the Kings before returning to Wisconsin to prepare for his sophomore season.[3] As a sophomore in 2000–01, he averaged 11.2 points per game and was the second-leading scorer on the team.[4]

As a junior in 2001–02 playing for coach Bo Ryan, Penney was again the team's leading scorer. He averaged 15.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game while shooting 45.4 percent from the field and teamed with point guard Devin Harris to guide the Badgers to a share of the Big Ten title. Penney subsequently earned first-team All-Big Ten honours in 2001–02.[4]

As a senior in 2002–03, Penney averaged 16.2 points and was second on the team with 6.0 rebounds per game, as Wisconsin won the Big Ten regular-season title outright. For his senior-year efforts, Penney earned first-team All-Big Ten honours again and was named an honorable mention All-American. His 217 career three-point field goals made ranks third in program history.[4][5]

Professional career

NBA and Europe (2003–2007)

Penney was not drafted in the star-studded 2003 NBA draft but joined the Minnesota Timberwolves in July that year for the Orlando Pro Summer League where he led the league in three-point shooting. On 1 September 2003, he signed with the Timberwolves, but did not make the team's final roster as he was waived on 23 October prior to the start of the 2003–04 NBA season. On 3 November, he signed with the Miami Heat and made his NBA debut that same day, scoring three points in 14 minutes of action against the Dallas Mavericks. Penney became the second New Zealander (after Sean Marks) to play in the NBA. The following day, he made his second appearance for the Heat, but record no stats in just four minutes of action against the San Antonio Spurs.[6] On 7 November, he was waived by the Heat after the team signed Tyrone Hill instead.[7]

Following his release from the Heat, Penney moved to Spain and signed with Gran Canaria for the rest of the 2003–04 season. In 24 Liga ACB games for Canaria, he averaged 10.6 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.

In July 2004, Penney joined the Minnesota Timberwolves for the Minnesota Summer League in Minneapolis, and the Chicago Bulls for the Rocky Mountain Revenue in Salt Lake City. On 4 November 2004, he was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2004 NBA Development League Draft by the Asheville Altitude. He had an impressive start to the 2004–05 season and earned himself an NBA call-up. On 26 December 2004, he signed with the Los Angeles Clippers. He appeared in four games for the Clippers and scored just two points.[8] He was waived by the Clippers on 3 January 2005 and returned to the Asheville Altitude to play out the season and help the team win the 2005 NBA D-League championship.

On 5 August 2005, Penney signed a two-year deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv of the Israeli Basketball Premier League.[9] He was used sparingly as a shooter off the bench and helped Maccabi qualify for the Euroleague Final Four, eventually losing to CSKA Moscow in the final. Maccabi did, however, win the 2006 Premier League championship. In 19 Euroleague games for Maccabi in 2005–06, Penney averaged 3.3 points per game.[10]

In October 2006, Penney signed with Žalgiris Kaunas as an injury replacement for Marcelinho Machado.[11] After Žalgiris won the Lithuanian Basketball League Cup, Penney parted ways with Žalgiris. On 16 February 2007, he signed with ALBA Berlin of Germany for the rest of the 2006–07 season.[12]

New Zealand Breakers (2007–2010)

In June 2007, Penney signed with the New Zealand Breakers of the Australian National Basketball League. Penney's addition to the previously unsuccessful Breakers proved to be the tonic for the Breakers success, with the team qualifying for their first ever finals series, before eventually finishing in sixth position overall in 2007–08. Individually, Penney was the league's third leading scorer, averaging 24.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.3 steals over 31 games, was a starter for the World All-Stars team, and was named to the All-NBL first team.[13]

In the 2008–09 season, Penney led the league in scoring and was the first Kiwi player ever to be named in the All-NBL first team for consecutive seasons. He took home the Andrew Gaze MVP trophy for leading the Breakers to their best season ever, averaging 24.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists over 28 games, making Penney the first Kiwi to be honoured with the award.[14]

On 21 January 2010, Penney scored a career-high 49 points in a 103–89 win over the Adelaide 36ers in Auckland.[15] During the 2009–10 season, he was once again named to the All-NBL first team.

Skyforce and Spurs (2010)

Following the conclusion of the 2009–10 NBL season, Penney returned to the United States, and on 24 March 2010, he was acquired by the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Development League.[16] In just his second game for the Skyforce, he scored a game-high 31 points on 12-of-17 shooting from the field, adding four rebounds, three assists and a steal in 43 minutes of game time in a 113–104 win over the Springfield Armor.[17] In the Skyforce's final game of the regular season, he scored 40 points in a win over the Bakersfield Jam.[18] The Skyforce made it to the first round of the playoffs where they lost to the Tulsa 66ers 2–1 in the best-of-three series. In seven total games for the Skyforce, he averaged 22.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game.[19]

On 28 September 2010, Penney signed with the San Antonio Spurs.[20] However, he was later waived by the Spurs on 11 October after appearing in one preseason game.[21][22]

First NBL Championship (2010–11)

On 26 October 2010, Penney returned to the New Zealand Breakers for the 2010–11 NBL season.[23] For the first three games of the season, Leon Henry filled in for Penney, but upon his return, Henry was swiftly moved out of the 10-man roster. In 2010–11, Penney led the Breakers to their first NBL championship as they defeated the Cairns Taipans in the grand final series, 2–1. He was again named to the All-NBL first team after averaging 20.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.[24]

Return to Europe (2011–2015)

On 29 July 2011, Penney signed with Baloncesto Fuenlabrada of Spain for the 2011–12 season.[25] During the 2011–12 ACB season, Penney was the fifth leading points scorer with 14.4 points per game.[26]

In July 2012, Penney signed with TED Ankara Kolejliler of Turkey for the 2012–13 season.[27] During the 2012–13 TBL season, Penney was the third leading points scorer with 18.3 points per game, hitting over 46% of his three-point shots.

In August 2013, Penney signed with Trabzonspor for the 2013–14 season.[28]

In mid-2014, Penney returned to the University of Wisconsin to finish off his degree.[29] On 26 January 2015, he signed with Baloncesto Sevilla of the Spanish Liga ACB.[30] In 16 games for Sevilla, he averaged 11.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.

Illawarra Hawks (2015–2016)

On 27 July 2015, Penney signed with the Illawarra Hawks for the 2015–16 NBL season.[31] In just the third game of the season on 14 October, he scored a season-high 36 points in a 96–75 win over his former team, the New Zealand Breakers.[32] He didn't miss a game for the Hawks over the team's first 22 contests before a hamstring injury suffered on 17 January 2016 against the Breakers[33] forced him to miss four straight games. He returned to action on 6 February, scoring 28 points in a 104–97 overtime win over the Townsville Crocodiles.[34] He helped the Hawks finish the regular season in third place with a 17–11 win/loss record, booking themselves a semi-final clash with the second-seeded Perth Wildcats. After losing Game 1 in Perth, the Hawks took Game 2 at home to save the series, but went on to lose the deciding Game 3 in Perth, bowing out of the playoffs with a 2–1 defeat. In 27 games for the Hawks in 2015–16, Penney averaged 20.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

Return to the Breakers (2016–present)

On 12 April 2016, Penney signed a three-year deal with the New Zealand Breakers, returning to the club for the first time since 2011.[35][36] On 7 October 2016, he played in his first game for the Breakers since 2011, scoring nine points in a 76–71 season-opening win over Melbourne United.[37] On 29 October, he scored 27 points in a 119–93 win over the Adelaide 36ers.[38] On 6 November, he scored 30 points in an 86–70 win over the Brisbane Bullets.[39]

Career statistics

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  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


2003–04 Miami 2 0 9.0 .167 .333 .000 .5 .5 .5 .0 1.5
2004–05 L.A. Clippers 4 0 3.0 .333 .000 .000 .4 .3 .0 .0 .5
Career 6 0 5.0 .222 .250 .000 .3 .3 .2 .0 .8


2005–06 Maccabi Tel Aviv 19 0 7.3 .588 .478 .714 .8 .1 .2 .0 3.3 2.4
2006–07 Žalgiris 13 2 18.5 .514 .452 .500 2.0 .8 .2 .0 7.4 5.2

National team career

Penney debuted for the New Zealand national basketball team in 1999 at the age of 18, going on to represent the Tall Blacks at two Olympic Games (in 2000 and 2004) and three world championships (2002, 2006 and 2010).

Penney was part of the Tall Blacks' memorable 2002 World Championships campaign as they surprisingly finished fourth. Penney averaged 16.9 points per game and hit 45.5% of his three-point shots.[40]

Penney led New Zealand to victory in the 2009 FIBA Oceania Championship, beating Australia 177–162 on aggregate, after the two-match tie was drawn 1–1.[41] Penney was influential in both games, with 23 points and 4 assists in Game 1, and a 24 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists in Game 2, thus winning the Al Ramsay Shield.

In the 2010 World Championships in Turkey, Penney was the second leading scorer with 24.7 points per game. New Zealand also went through to the elimination rounds with a 3-2 record.[40]

Penney participated for New Zealand at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain and averaged 10.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in six games.[42]

In May 2016, Penney retired from international basketball after a career spanning 15 years (1999–2014).[43]

Personal life

Penney is the brother of Rodd Penney, who is also a professional sportsman, and has played Rugby Union in New Zealand, England and Italy.[44] Penney and his wife, Audra, have a daughter named Olivia.[45]

Awards and achievements

Individual achievements

Team achievements

New Zealand national team


  1. Tall Blacks profiles
  2. NBL returns to Final Four finals format
  3. Basketball: NBA hopeful keen to play in Tall Blacks series
  4. 1 2 3 All-Bo Ryan starting 5: Kirk Penney
  5. "Kirk Penney Stats". Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  6. Kirk Penney 2003-04 Game Log
  7. HEAT Signs Tyrone Hill, Asks Waivers on Kirk Penney
  8. Kirk Penney 2004-05 Game Log
  9. Kirk Penney signed for two years
  10. Kirk Penney Europe Stats
  11. Zalgiris sign "Tall Black" Penney
  12. Kirk Penney verstärkt die Albatrosse (German)
  13. "Player Profile: Kirk Penney". SportsTG. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  14. Penney becomes first NZer to win Aussie basketball league MVP
  15. Nagy, Boti (22 January 2010). "Penney drops 49 as Sixers' season over". Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  16. 09-10 Transactions
  17. Kirk Penney explodes for 31 points in D-League
  18. Kirk Penney drops 40 points in NBA D-League
  19. Kirk Penney D-League Stats
  20. Spurs Add Kirk Penney To Training Camp Roster
  21. Spurs Waive Kirk Penney
  22. Tall Black Kirk Penney released by NBA side
  23. "Basketball: Penney returns to Breakers". 26 October 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  24. Player statistics for Kirk Penney
  25. "Fuenlabrada tabs scoring machine Kirk Penney". 29 July 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  26. Hinton, Marc (27 May 2012). "Kirk Penney yearns to be a Breaker again". Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  27. Hinton, Marc (26 July 2012). "Kirk Penney signs to play in Turkish capital". Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  28. Hinton, Marc (7 August 2013). "Tall Blacks star Penney on move in Turkey". Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  29. Kirk Penney in demand as education comes first
  30. "Kirk Penney moves to Sevilla". 26 January 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  33. Penney a long shot for Wildcats showdown
  34. Hawks book finals spot in overtime thriller
  36. Family, fun fuel Kirk Penney to take up three-year deal with NZ Breakers
  38. Kirk Penney, Corey Webster combine for 49 as Breakers overwhelm Adelaide
  40. 1 2 "Kirk Penney – 2010 FIBA World Championship". Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  41. "New Zealand wins 2009 Oceania Championship". 25 August 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
  42. 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup – Kirk Penney
  43. Tall Blacks setback − Kirk Penney calls time on his international career
  44. Nagy, Boti (9 November 2010). "Wedding bells take toll on Breakers". Retrieved 18 December 2011.
  45. Is Kiwi hoops star Kirk Penney returning home to the NZ Breakers?
  46. Tall Blacks defeat Russia, win Stankovic Cup
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