The Aon New Zealand Under 17 team has been officially named today ahead of their tour of the Philippines, departing this Wednesday.
The will be traveling to Manilla in preparation for the Under 16* FIBA Asia Championships, to be held in October (FIBA has yet to announce the host nation).
The Kiwi’s will be hosted by Ateneo University, which is one of the highest profile universities in the Philippines, known for its academic and sporting reputation.
The visit has been made possible through the help of Tab Baldwin. The former Tall Blacks and Breakers coach has established himself in the Philippines since 2014, where he was appointed head coach of the famous Gilas, the national Filipino team. Baldwin has since stepped down from the Gilas Head Coach role. While he still advises the Filipino national programme, his coaching duties have been employed by Ateneo University as the schools premiere’s men’s basketball coach.
Head Coach of the Aon New Zealand Under 17 team, Dave Bublitz, says Tab Baldwin has been instrumental in arranging this amazing opportunity for this young New Zealand team.
“Tab has set up an eight day programme consisting of seven games against local universities, high schools and two games against the Filipino National U 16 team.
“The squad will stay, eat and play in the University compound. The athletes will experience the style of basketball that they will most likely come up against in the FIBA Asia Championship, as well as acclimatizing to the local cuisine and the different levels of heat and humidity.
“It is an exciting opportunity for the athletes to cement their spots for the Asia Champs in October.”
Aon New Zealand Under 17 Men’s Squad to travel to the Philippines:
The Harbour Basketball Association has dominated the Under 17 Aon Nationals, with both of their Under 17 boys and girls teams winning their respective Grand Finals in Wellington this evening.
2017 Under 17 Aon Nationals Girls’ Grand Final: Auckland Counties-Manukau vs Harbour
An offensively perfect four minute stretch for Harbour near the start of the game saw them jump out to a twenty point lead thanks to a 17-0 run, as Bronwyn Davidson’s team scored on eight straight possessions. The second quarter wasn’t much better for Auckland Counties-Manukau (ACM), with the Harbour lead sticking at a basket or two either side of 20 points, thanks to their balanced attack, where six different players scored in the quarter – led by Rikki Fiatau’s five points.
ACM started to fight back in the third, getting Harbour’s lead down to 13 on two occasions. Unfortunately for any hopes of a close finish, it seemed every ACM mini-run was immediately answered by Harbour, as they entered the final quarter up sixteen points 73-57.
Jordyn Maddix and Tayla Dalton kept the Harbour score ticking over in the fourth, as they combined for 16 points thanks to five layups, and six points from behind the arc. Monekah Va’ai managed to snag four of her seven steals in the quarter for ACM, but they could only get these extra possessions converted into four points, with Harbour never really feeling threatened.
Harbour’s depth ended up being one of their key advantages, as eight players had at least 15 minutes of time on the court, while ACM only had six players in total to see time on the court.
Harbour, 91: T. Dalton 18 points; J. Maddix 17 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals; R. Fiatau 15 points, 9 rebounds; P. Delamere 7 points, 11 rebounds
Auckland Counties-Manukau, 76: S. Pupuke-Robati 27 points, 17 rebounds; M. Va’ai 17 points, 7 steals; J. Manase; S. Herewini 10 points.
The U17 Aon Nationals Girls' Tournament team:
1. Jada Manase – Auckland Counties
2. Isabelle Cook – Taranaki
3. Sharne Pupuke-Robati – Auckland Counties
4. Jordyn Maddix – Harbour
5. Riva Walker-Pitman – Waikato
6. Lenilia Moananu – Wellington
7. Helen Mathews – Canterbury
8. Paris Lokotui – Wellington
9. Rochelle Fourie – Manawatu
10.Tayla Dalton – Harbour
The U17s Aon Nationals Girls’ MVP: Tayla Dalton – Harbour
2017 Under 17 Aon Nationals Boys’ Grand Final: Harbour A vs Manawatu
The scoreboard ticked over quickly during this Grand Final, although not quite at the same rate that was in last night’s semi-final, as it took well into the second half before Harbour began to hit at a consistent clip from behind the arc. Instead it was their prowess on the offensive glass that kept them ahead of Manawatu, who were using the three point shot themselves to keep pressure on the Habour team, as both Kopere Tanoa and Tre Wihongi hit three threes in the first half each.
Despite only making 1 of 15 three pointer attempts in the first half, grabbing offensive rebounds on almost half of their missed shots (14/30) saw Harbour enter the half time break with a slim 56-51 lead. In spite of the extra possessions Harbour was gaining, this wasn’t the biggest issue for Manawatu. Instead three fouls on last night’s hero Jake McKinlay in the second quarter were a much bigger problem, as he entered the break with a solid line of 11 and eight. Harbour’s Mitchell Dance was a touch ahead with 21 and 12 himself.
Manawatu kept fighting in the third quarter, with a big three by Wihongi cutting an eleven point Harbour lead down to five (70-65). This was as close as they would get, as Dance scored eight points in a 13-0 Harbour run. Harbour’s 2-3 zone defence started confounding the Manawatu offence, and was coupled with Harbour finally starting to hit shots from behind the arc at a clip they were more accustomed to in the final quarter (3/7, with Ethan Mandeno hitting two of these). This saw Harbour quickly pull away to complete the double championship with their female counterparts.
Harbour A, 102: M. Dance 39 points, 19 rebounds; J. Thornton 18 points, 13 rebounds; E. Mandeno 16 points
Manawatu, 77: K. Tanoa 23 points, 7 assists; T. Wihongi 14 points; J. McKinlay 13 points, 12 rebounds; X. Mason 10 points; S. Brown 10 points
The U17 Aon Nationals Boys' Tournament team:
1. Kainoa Lepou – Waikato
2. Kopere Tanoa – Manawatu
3. Shalom Broughton – Tauranga
4. Aniwaniwa Tait-Jones – Wellington
5. Louis Oskam – Waitaha Canterbury A
6. Jared Thornton – Harbour A
7. Havin Dixon – Wellington
8. Jaga Mete-Smith – Waitakere West
9. Jake McKinley – Manawatu
10. Mitchell Dance – Harbour A
The U17s Aon Nationals Boys' MVP: Mitchell Dance – Harbour A
Tall Blacks Head Coach Paul Henare has announced the list of players that will attend a six-day camp in Auckland, ahead of a final 12-man roster being named to travel to the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon, via preparation matches in China.
As was indicated last month, the team is shy of experienced players as Henare manages player welfare and club commitments, as New Zealand enters FIBA Asia for the first time. With demands on players set to increase beyond anything experienced before, Henare has identified as a priority the World Cup Qualifiers in November 2017, February 2018 and June/July 2018, as the Tall Blacks look to book a place at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The team for the Asia Cup will however benefit from the recent introduction of the New Zealand Select concept, brought in by Basketball New Zealand two years ago with the introduction to Asia top of mind, as player depth was always going to be tested.
Henare says it is no coincidence that 8 of the 12 players who toured China last month with New Zealand Select have been named to attend the camp in Auckland, starting July 20 at Bruce Pulman Park in Papakura.
“The New Zealand Select tours are building depth and providing a step on the pathway from domestic competition to playing for the Tall Blacks. Many of the players in contention for the Asia Cup have experience of at least one New Zealand Select tour, so have a better understanding of what it is to play internationally and represent New Zealand, making the step into the Tall Blacks an easier one to handle.
“There is also a core group here that while young, already have experience with the Tall Blacks, with Shea Ili, Reuben Te Rangi, Finn Delany, Derone Raukawa, Ethan Rusbatch and Jordan Ngatai all having worn the black singlet before, many of them at the Olympic qualifiers in the Philippines last year.
“This will be a great group to work with, and one that has the potential to surprise in Beirut. But this is also a great investment in the depth of our game, with these players almost certainly needing to be ready to play their part over the next three years as we build towards the ultimate goal of Tokyo 2020.”
As well as taking the chance to further develop the depth in the game and give a number of young players their chance in the black singlet, Henare is ensuring that the senior group is refreshed ahead of a busy 12-month period, starting with the first World Cup Qualifiers in November.
“I have spoken to all other players and explained the long-term thinking. A number of them weren’t available for a variety of reasons, and while some are disappointed not to be selected for the Asia Cup, everyone understands what we are trying to achieve is on board with the longer-term goals of China 2019 and Tokyo 2020 top of mind.”
As well as those looking to graduate from the recent New Zealand Select tour, there are call ups to the camp for Anchor Junior Tall Blacks Isaac Letoa, Quinn Clinton, Taane Samuel and Callum McRae.
There are also first-time call-ups to a Tall Blacks camp for James Hunter (Southland Sharks), Luke Aston (Southland Sharks and Dyson King-Hawea (Nunawading Spectres – AUS). The call up continues a great week in the life of 25 year old Hunter, following on from his signing with the SKYCITY Breakers yesterday.
Those not considered include Tai Wynyard (not released), Jack Salt (injury), Mike Karena (injury), Dan Fotu (injury) and Mitch Newton (injury), Izayah Leafa (not available), Yanni Wetzel (not released), Matt Freeman (not released) along with others in the NCAA programme who were unable to secure a release from their College commitments. Players invited to the Tall Blacks Camp, July 20 to 26Bruce Pulman Park, Papakura. (Final 12 player roster for the Asia Cup to be selected during this camp):
- Shea Ili, point guard, SKYCITY Breakers/Wellington Saints
- Derone Raukawa, point guard, SKYCITY Breakers/Southland Sharks
- Isaac Letoa, point guard, Wellington Saints, Anchor Junior Tall Blacks
- Quinn Clinton, point guard, Canterbury Rams, Anchor Junior Tall Blacks
- Ethan Rusbatch, guard, Canterbury Rams
- Luke Aston, guard, Southland Sharks
- Reuben Te Rangi, guard/small forward, Brisbane Bullets, Southland Sharks
- Dyson King-Hawea, forward, Nunawading Spectres
- Jordan Ngatai, guard/small forward, Wellington Saints
- Taane Samuel, forward, Wellington Basketball, Junior Tall Blacks
- Finn Delany, forward, SKYCITY Breakers
- Sam Timmins, centre, Washington University
- James Hunter, forward/centre, Southland Sharks
- Callum McRae, centre, Palmerston North Boys High, Junior Tall Blacks.
The Anchor Junior Tall Blacks have ended their FIBA U19 World Cup on a high, thrashing hosts Egypt 85-69 to finish 11th at the tournament, on the first occasion New Zealand has ever qualified a team to play at this level.
The win was earned on a strong performance across the board, the team dominated rebounds as they have through most of the tournament, cut down turnovers and shot the ball at a good clip throughout.
Head Coach Daryl Cartwright spoke of the atmosphere playing the hosts and the way his team handled that pressure.
“The crowd built over the game, there was a delay at halftime and the crowd seemed to double before the second half started and it spurred them on to come back at us but we gathered, made some good plays and finished strongly.
“Our starting group has been pretty consistent for the most part, Taane has been up there in our scoring and I think Tai ended up leading the team for scoring and rebounding. Quinn has provided great leadership to the team as well. But the bench too has provided good production at times, but the starting group has played a big part in our tournament.”
Cartwright acknowledged the contribution from Isaac Letoa in the assist column tonight, as he again went close to double figures.
“Isaac has had two games with nine assists now and does a good job when he plays under control and has our systems running and gets guys the right looks. There have been some areas we have struggled with, notably turnovers, and we got that ratio right tonight for sure.”
Cartwright also referenced the commitment from everyone involved in the team and the programme, most notably the families and players themselves.
“I am proud of the team, the staff and everyone’s families in what we have achieved. It has been a tough six months with our preparation, trying to get all the guys together, with Sam based in Miami and not part of our build up at all really. Our isolation makes it difficult too, trying to play other U19 teams in the buildup to get a feel for the style of basketball that we would come up against.”
While disappointed not to have gone deeper into the tournament and earned a top ten ranking, Cartwright reflected on a team that never threw in the towel and always gave 100%.
“I spoke about it in the locker room today, in virtually every game we were within four or five points in the final moments. A couple of those results below out as we were fouling at the end trying to get back in. But we showed we are a competitive side and found a way even when losing badly in the number of possessions for each team on the back of our turnover issues.
“There are some learnings for our guys, hopefully this experience is a positive one to motivate them to continue to develop, work hard and one day be in the Tall Blacks. This group of young men can be the core of the Tall Blacks for a few years to come, if they continue their development wherever they end up over the next few years.”
Cartwright says the game is in rude good health, with a depth and level of talent being produced like never before, but the challenges are significant for a sport that has multiple national teams and programmes in action at any one time – all largely 100% funded by the sport or the players and their families.
“The game is going from strength to strength, as our local associations and coaches improve their knowledge and systems. We are seeing more and more young people choose basketball as their sport of choice instead of a second sport. I hope that growth continues, but it needs financial support to match it.
“One of the areas is the possibility of long-term government funding to support this programme and filter down to the junior teams. One of the challenges is we are athlete funded, sometimes that can exclude some of our best athletes. I know we are the only team here at the World Cup that is athlete funded, that is the reality of what we are going up against.”
Anchor Junior Tall Blacks 85
Wynyard 17 & 10, Samuel 17, Clinton 12 & 5 & 4 assists, Letoa 7 points 9 assists
A poor second quarter proved costly as the Anchor Junior Tall Blacks were defeated 74-70 by South American powerhouse Argentina at the FIBA U19 World Cup this morning, New Zealand time.
A 16-29 second quarter aside, the young Kiwis were much improved, winning the rebound count 60-43 and improving their accuracy from the free throw line to 66%, but despite winning the second half by 11 points, the margin was too big to overhaul.
Best for the Kiwis were point guard Quinn Clinton (19 points and 12 rebounds), Sam Waardenburg (15 and 10), Isaac Letoa (13 and 5) and Tane Samuel (12 points) in another all-round team effort that had them going toe to toe with the world #9 ranked Argentinians for the majority of the match.
Head Coach Daryl Cartwright was left to rue that poor period in the game after his side appeared to have done their homework effectively.
“We started really well, all of our practice preparation and videos were focused on the mental side of things, turnovers and free throws were something we challenged the guys to improve and we did that for most parts. But unfortunately, we buttoned off a little and Argentina made some shots and got their tails up and we dug a hole we couldn’t come back from.”
Cartwright said the talent is there, it is just the consistency that is lacking from his impressive young group of players.
“We had a good buildup in China but getting exposed to tough games week in week out is hard for New Zealand teams because of our location and the challenge in bringing our group back together. But we have shown we are good enough in this tournament, but the margin is small between being a good team and great team and we have been great in parts but the consistency is the difference for us in being 3 and 0 in this pool and now being 1 and 2.”
Clinton and Letoa again led the guard line superbly, going a combined 32 points and 17 rebounds with the team improved in looking after the ball, with 16 turnovers in a game played at high tempo.
“They played well, we have had a bit of a challenge with over half the team being sick the past two days with s stomach virus. It was a good test of our resilience and we spoke about it and had to find a way to overcome not feeling the greatest and being a bit run down, I think we did that. After the game it was mixed emotions, I was proud of our fight but I thought we could have controlled the game better than we did in patches. It is within us to do that, but we need all guys when they step on the floor to contribute every possession and we had some breakdowns that cost us in the end.”
The New Zealanders were also dealing with adversity of a more serious nature, wearing armbands as a mark of respect to their team mate Tane Samuel, with news of the Samuel family suffering a bereavement reaching the team just prior to their game against France. The team in Egypt and all at Basketball New Zealand send their condolences and prayers to the family at this time.
The team will now face off against another giant of the game in Germany in the round of 16 tomorrow morning, with the time to be confirmed.
New Zealand 70
Clinton 19 points and 12 rebounds, Waardenburg 15 / 10, Letoa 13 / 5, Samuel 12 points
Solanas 16, Lopez 14, Caffaro 11
Out of 20 competing countries, New Zealand has come fourth in the FIBA Under 18 3x3 World Cup over night, after losing to Slovenia in the bronze medal match.
It was a big day of finals matches for the Kiwis in Chengdu, China, with a Quarter Final win over Hungary, followed by a Semi Final loss to number one seed The Netherlands. Coach Corban said by the time the Bronze medal match was played, the Kiwis were struggling to maintain their composure in the over 30 degree heat and intense humidity. But he wasn’t looking for excuses, his frustration was clear, believing the game should have been closed out by his team with a four point lead and two minutes to go.
“After letting this game slip, our team debrief was pretty heated. A team shouldn’t lose a 3x3 game when up by four points with just over two minutes to go, but we did when we had the bronze medal firmly in our grasp. Poor decision making led to turnovers and an avalanche of points on us. It was tough to handle, especially after Rangimarie Mita did a great job getting us back into the game with his two point shooting,” said Corban.
The Slovenians were too consistent under pressure and pulled out, managing to reach the required 21 points first, to claim the Bronze.
Final Score: New Zealand 17, Slovenia 21.
The day had started with the Kiwis playing the Quarter Final against Hungary, a team that relied on the dribble and drive, and dribble and dish, versus the controlled slower game of New Zealand. Although the Kiwis only managed to steady their ship after letting the Hungarians fly away to an early 5 to 1 lead. It took Will Heather to bring the Kiwis back to five all, after muscling every single point back with a small hook under the post.
From there both teams traded blows to remain even for most of the game. It wasn’t until a timely bucket from Thabo Manyere that the Kiwis finally took the lead for the first time. Hungary, unfazed, hit straight back – 14 all with 28 seconds to play. It then seemed fitting for Will Heather to chalk the final game winning point, by again using his trademark dribble, bounce and pop to muscle in the final basket.
Coach Corban was delighted with the team’s performance where they managed to keep their focus in a pressured game where it could have gone either way.
“We managed the game clock quite well to clinch a narrow one point win. It was a total team performance. Everyone contributed in the heat of battle and our on-court communication and leadership was very strong.”
Final score: New Zealand 16, Hungary 15.
The Semi Final presented the tournaments number one seed, The Netherlands. Before the game the boys from Holland refused to accept the Kiwi challenge, cowering into a huddle and choosing to not face their opponents. Perhaps it was just ignorance though - once on court, it was clear the Netherlands wanted this win more.
In the first two plays, the Netherlands were generously given two big open-looks and punished the lack of Kiwi defence by drilling both shots from outside the arc. Isiah Jones managed to notch the Kiwis first point in close, but the Netherlands hit back to make it a 5 – 1 lead.
It was a margin that New Zealand could not recover. The tournaments’ Shoot Out winner, Calvin Poulina, was clinical in constantly moving forward and scoring from almost any position.
The Kiwis energy seemed spent after their hairline Quarter Final win, Coach Corban agreed and said his team didn’t bring that foot speed to the Semi.
“Despite following a pretty strict recovery routine before this game, we were too slow and suffered the consequences. My players assured me they had taken recovery products and food, and we found a nearby shopping plaza that was air conditioned, which was our best option to cool down in! But the Netherlands were too good, we gave them too much room.”
Final Score: New Zealand 10, Netherlands 8.
The Netherlands went onto the Final where they lost to the 2017 3x3 Under 18 World Cup champions Belgium, 17 to 12.
A win is a win, especially when it is your opening game at the FIBA U19 World Cup, so the Anchor Junior Tall Blacks coaching staff are understandably taking the positives from their first up 88-81 victory over world number 15 ranked South Korea in Cairo overnight New Zealand time.
A final quarter flourish led by Quinn Clinton and Tai Wynyard got the young New Zealand side home over the higher ranked Koreans in Pool A, but excessive turnovers and a poor return from the charity stripe looked to have stymied their chances through the first three quarters.
Head Coach Daryl Cartwright was delighted with the response of his side as they turned on the pressure in the final five minutes to overcome a 9-point deficit to eventually win comfortably.
“Parts of the game weren’t up to how we want to play, guys went away from the game plan and didn’t execute but Korea are ranked 15th in the world and we came in 30th. I think a lot of people dismiss them because of who they are rather than looking at the ranking and records, they are a very good team and have played a lot more international competition than us so they were never going to give us the game and made us scrap and fight the whole way, but we found some composure down the stretch and played to our strengths.”
Cartwright did not shy away from those areas of concern, with free throw shooting (17/33) and turnovers (28) the key areas to look at.
“We haven’t shot the ball well from the charity stripe on tour, it is one of those things you don’t want to keep harping on about but it has been a focus in training. It was an ugly number percentage wise and we have left a lot of points on the floor, but the main thing was we made the shots when it counted and put the game out of reach of Korea.
“Turnovers were unacceptable, especially in the third quarter where they put some pressure on us and we didn’t respond. They were getting away with a lot of contact, but we need to play to how the referees are officiating the game and do a better job of looking after the ball.”
Cartwright highlighted Isaac Letoa and the Tai Wynard post game, with Wynyard having to sit for most of the first half after picking up two quick fouls.
“Isaac had a great game, he started strong and was key down the stretch. Tai got in early foul trouble and with two quick ones we couldn’t risk him picking up a third in the first half. For the most part we were controlling the temp while he was on the bench, but Korea made a little run and we managed the rotation to get Tai out of that potential third foul situation and allowed him to play aggressive and strong in the second half. He dominated inside and made his presence felt with some key buckets.”
Cartwright and his coaching staff are under no illusions as to the enormity of the task, but welcomes the chance to take on the best in the world.
“In a World Cup, to get the first win in the pool gives you some momentum. We have a tough pool, I mentioned Korea at 15, tomorrow we play France ranked 9 and then Argentina ranked 7. Both are big teams, have an average age of 19 and many of them play in professional competitions. Both will be a big test of our guys but one they have to enjoy the challenge of taking on that talent and experience.”
Anchor Junior Tall Blacks 88
Wynyard 22, Letoa 14, Clinton 12
South Korea 81
Han 20, Kim 14
New Zealand’s Group A games in Cairo are:
New Zealand v France, July 3rd, 1:30am NZT
New Zealand v Argentina, July 5th, 4:15am NZT
The Aon Under 18 New Zealand men’s team was named today ahead of the FIBA U17 Oceania Championships, to be held in Guam from 9 to 15 July.
Head Coach for the Under 18s, Miles Pearce, said it was tough to select only 12 players from a wider squad of great upcoming talent.
“The quality of talent is amazing. All the athletes that have been involved with the group that have come to the camps. They have been ready to play and fight for spots in the final squad to compete at the FIBA 17's and have earned their spots.”
New Zealand have been named in Group A along with Tahiti, the Marshall Islands and Guam. On the other side of the draw in Group B, Australia and pooled with New Caledonia, Samoa and Palau. Although the Oceania’s have traditionally come down to a faceoff between Australia and New Zealand, Pearce says the Group A round robin will not be taken lightly.
“It will be a tough situation with some very good competition including the home nation pool. The travel and recovery will be vital as we push for a spot in the top two.”
The team have been preparing through five camps since March. Given the team is made up from players throughout New Zealand, Coach Pearce says time with the team is a luxury and they’ve made the most of every opportunity.
“Preferably you would like to have more time with the group during the build-up, but the team have worked hard and all the coaches have worked closely with the athletes to prepare them for international competition. The guys retention from camp to camp has been really good and the carryover has seen us, as a staff, be able to build sets that use the skills of the guys and put them in the best place to use those skills.”
As with the Tall Ferns and Tall Blacks, the New Zealand age-group teams are also subject to new qualification rules through the FIBA Asia Zone. Previously the team were required to be number one in Oceania to qualify for a FIBA World Cup, as was achieved by the Junior Tall Blacks in December last year. Now, the team is required to be within the top two in Oceania, which qualifies them to play in the FIBA Asia age-group Championships. The team will then have to finish in the top four in that tournament to qualify for the World Cup.
Coach Pearce says their main focus now is to play hard and to rely on the processes they’ve in place to get through the Oceania series.
“The current Junior Tall Blacks group is a tough act to follow, but this group is up for the challenge.
“We are really happy with the group we have assembled. They are a credit to the Associations that work with these boys week in and week out. The boys are coming in with a full skill set that we feel can produce at international level,” says Coach Pearce.
A number of the team have just returned from the NBA Asia Pacific camp where they trained with Coach Pearce under current NBA players Malik Beasley (Denver Nuggets), Andrew Nicholson (Brooklyn Nets) and Garrett Temple (Sacramento Kings), former WNBA player Zheng Haixia (the first Chinese WNBA player); NBA assistant coaches Ryan Bowen (Denver Nuggets), Charles Klask (Detroit Pistons), Bob Thornton (Sacramento Kings); and FIBA coach Ronald Cass. (See more on this camp here).
The Aon New Zealand Under 18 men’s team:
Joseph Ahie - Wellington Basketball Association
Cooper Boyce-Towler - Palmerston North Basketball Association*
Max de Geest - Canterbury Basketball Association*
Tama Faamausili - Palmerston North Basketball Association*
Tom Higgins - Central Country Basketball Association*
Peter Jenkins - Harbour Basketball
Tyler Marsh - Nelson Basketball
Matthew O'Connell - Basketball Taranaki Incorporated*
Oscar Robertson - Basketball Taranaki Incorporated*
Oscar Oswald - Palmerston North Basketball Association*
Kruz Perrott-Hunt - Harbour Basketball*
Taiaroa Porima-Flavell - Basketball Otago
(*Players who have returned from NBA Asia Pacific Camp in China. See media release here).
Staff:Miles Pearce - Head Coach
Trent Adam - Assistant Coach
Maine Mareko – Manager
The Aon New Zealand Under 18 women’s team has been named today ahead of the FIBA Under 17 Oceania Championships, to be held in Guam from 9 to 15 July.
Head Coach Jody Cameron says this is a relatively young and inexperienced team that has needed to step up after the majority of the Junior Tall Ferns have moved on to US College scholarships or past the age of eligibility.
“The current pool of players has worked hard to get to next level. We are really happy with the commitment from them and their families, and every player we’ve named thoroughly deserves their spot in this team,” said Cameron.
Similar to the Tall Ferns and Tall Blacks, New Zealand age-group teams are also subject to new qualification rules thanks to FIBA’s new Asia Zone. Previously New Zealand age-groups teams were required to be number one in Oceania to qualify for a FIBA World Cup, as was achieved by the Junior Tall Blacks in December last year. Now, teams are required to be within the top two in Oceania, which qualifies them to play in the FIBA Asia age-group Championships. The team will then have to finish in the top four in that tournament to qualify for the FIBA Under 19 World Cup.
For now, Coach Cameron’s thoughts are on the first round of the Oceania Champs next month.
“Going into the Oceania Champs is always a welcoming challenge involving ourselves, the surrounding Pacific islands and current Oceania champs, Australia. The talent within the Oceania region is growing too, especially with the injection of support from FIBA implementing programmes and international events held in the Pacific. It's great to see forward thinking for the game we love to foster it globally, particularly into the far reaches of our backyard.”
Favourites Australia is in Pool A with Tahiti, Samoa and the Marshall Islands. New Zealand sits in Pool B.
“We're up against some very strong opposition there with our pool drawing New Caledonia, home favourites Guam, and Palau. So we will get to test ourselves against the very best in the inclusive regions. For the countries that manage to finish in the top two, they will get to progress onto the Asia Championship and have an opportunity to showcase their talents on a large stage. It’s very exciting for these young players to represent New Zealand on such a massive stage, and potentially be playing in front of scouts from big US colleges and leagues. This truly is where dreams can come true for these kids.”
Coach Cameron says the team is preparing well, although she says it’s important that there is balance for these athletes who are still managing the pressures of school studies.
“Preparation is always a delicate process when young athletes are juggling other demands, but they have all put their hand up for the challenge. The work is plenty and continuous. It never ends and we demand a lot from them. The athletes have worked hard for their opportunity on the international stage, but they do it because they want to do their country and families proud.
“It's also exciting for them. It’s a fantastic time for women's basketball, not only here in New Zealand but all over the world. Young girls are starting to realise they can go a long way in this game both on and off the court. As a team, our motivation is getting to the Asia Champs and then the World Cup, we want to advance and develop a programme that is sustainable and exciting to all those younger athletes looking up to these current players within our national programme.
“Wearing the fern is not a matter taken lightly and with the selection process being tough, it's great to see them individually wanting to claim it, wear it and know everyone at home is behind them. Their families are motivation enough, and I feel that's something we can overlook. If you ask each kid what motivates them, their parents and family are at the core if it,” says Cameron.
Aon Under 18 New Zealand Women’s Team:
For more information on the FIBA Oceania U17 Tournament go to the FIBA website: http://www.fiba.com/oceania/u17women/2017/Marshall-Islands
Follow the teams progress through www.basketball.org.nz and Basketball New Zealand social media channels: @BasketballNZ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
The New Zealand team has been named today ahead of the FIBA Under 18 3x3 World Cup, which will be hosted in Chengdu, China, from 28 June to 2 July.
Rangimarie Mita, Thabo Manyere, William Heather, Isaiah Jones will depart for China this week to take on the world’s best young 3x3 talent. Although considered underdogs this year, the team boasts a proud Kiwi history with two world titles in New Zealand trophy cabinet. The first is from 2011 when Tai Webster, Reuben Te Rangi and Isaac Fotu won in 2011. All have since gone on to become Tall Blacks. In 2015 New Zealand’s second World Cup was won by captain Nikau McCullough, tournament MVP Tai Wynyard, and Sam Timmins and Matt Freeman, who brought the house down by beating Argentina in a tense final 20 to 18.
Head Coach Anthony Corban was at the teams’ helm for both of those world titles.
“I take pride in our outstanding history in the U18 3x3 World Championship. What made those teams world beaters was that they had been put through a tough training regime before the tournament. They experienced fatigue and failure in training and learnt from it,” says Corban.
This 2017 team is another group of talented young men who will need to adapt quickly to the hype that has become synonymous with 3x3 events, but Coach Corban says he’s picked a team that will gel on court, and that these young men have the grit required to overcome their underdog status at this World Cup.
“Will Heather is a post player with the ability to stretch the defence with his outside shooting ability. I like the fact he can strongly defend the post with one-on-one coverage.
“Then there’s Thabo [Manyere], who’s an athletic player. He can overpower smaller players on the perimeter and take bigger players off the dribble. I particularly like his on-court work ethic.
“Isaia [Jones] is athletic guard with inside/outside game. It will be tough for teams to match up on him and defend. I like his physical strength and ability to get to the basket.
“Rangimarie Mita is a tall shooting guard with ability to get to the basket off the dribble,” said Coach Corban.
Everyone one of these players will have to be on their game if the wish to advance through to the playoff rounds, as New Zealand has drawn formidable opposition in Pool B – Ukraine, Bahrain, Georgia, and Qatar.
“I wish it was easy to predict how we are going to go, but yes we are in a tough group. Qatar are defending champions, and Ukraine and Georgia were particularly good teams last year.
“We’ve trained with tough opposition in mind though. Our camps have been intense with these boys learning to play bigger and stronger teams, particularly through the training sessions we’ve had with our open men’s team. But at the end of the day, the main focus for this team is on what they can control, which is our decision making on the court – get that right and everything else takes care of itself.”
Coach Corban will meet the team in China after departing Nantes in France where he’s been at the open men’s FIBA 3x3 World Cup. In China, he’ll be looking to go at least one stage further than the open men’s team, with the playoff stages in mind. Corban says the junior programme in New Zealand is continuing to produce talented basketballers and predicts more world titles.
“With the Junior Tall Blacks team in Cairo and Under 18 team heading to Guam, solid performances on the court in China will further underline the continuing depth New Zealand is building in age group basketball,” says Corban.
“It’s us against the world.”
New Zealand U18 3x3 Team:
Follow the team through www.basketball.org.nz and Basketball New Zealand’s social media channels: @BasketballNZ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand