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.
The Junior Tall Blacks have played the first tournament in a three-tournament series in China.
The Atlas Invitational Series is being played in the provinces of Shaanxi, Guizhou and Fujian, with teams from China, the United States and Lithuania.
The first game was against a United States Select Team made up of professional-level players with an average age of 26. It was a ‘David and Goliath’ styled encounter, yet the Junior Tall Blacks (JTBs) are a well-drilled young side that impressively pushed the Americans to their limit. The JTBs started superbly, managing to win the first quarter 20-17. Although frazzled early, the US team managed to rally in the second quarter, outscoring the Kiwis 28-16. From there they held their lead, eventually overcoming the JTBs 81 to 69.
Head Coach Daryl Cartwright said the physical dominance of the US side showed on the stats’ sheet with the JTB’s 2 point Field Goals totaling 28%.
“We struggled to finish inside against the stronger opposition, where the referees were allowing a lot of contact around the basket.”
The JTBs second game was against a China Under 17 team, which Coach Cartwright said was unexpected because a China Under 19 team was originally scheduled to play.
“After being dominated physically by the US, we refocused for the Chinese. We had set a goal of winning the rebound count by 10 plus for the game, which we dominated 67-22. We converted the extra possessions at a field goal percentage of 62% and five players scored in double figures, with Taane [Samuel] finishing with 24points and Tai [Wynyard] 19 points and 14 rebounds. One of the areas to improve on is our turnovers, which were above where they should be against the opposition we faced.”
Third game was against a strong Under 23 Lithuania side. The JTBs were exceptional in the final three quarters and unlucky to have fallen short of the win. Cartwright said this was a game where the JTBs came out flat against a typical eastern European team.
“They picked us apart with their excellent ball movement out of the pick and roll situation, and shooting from deep.” (28-14 in the first quarter).
“We responded to the challenge to match Lithuania’s intensity, we lifted our effort and rolled up our sleeves to match their physical play. We eventually went down 65-61.
“Positives to take out of the match, after our slow start, were that we won each quarter after the first and restricted them to 37 points for the rest of the match after scoring 28 in the first period. One of the areas we want to win is the effort categories and again we won the rebound count 51-39, including 20 offensive rebounds. It was a gritty performance.
“Tai [Wynyard] again had a double/double of 21 points and 15 rebounds. Isaac [Letoa] had a good performance with 14 points, and Hamish [McDonald] and Tobias [Cameron] made an impact off the bench to lift our defensive intensity.
“There are small victories to take out of the match, even though we lost. With two more matches against this team it will be a good challenge for us and these tight encounters are what we need to prepare us for our opposition in Cairo,” said Cartwright.
Leaving the large and passionate crowds of Shangluo in the Shaanxi region, the JTBs will travel to Wuchan in the Guizhou province today, which will be a test with the rigors of touring in China. The very next day, the JTBs will play their second round of matches against the same teams.
Coach Cartwright says the goal for each game is to try and improve as a team from their last performance, with each player looking at what they can do individually to improve their role in the team as they approach the FIBA U19 World Cup in Cairo.
“We want to be playing our best basketball at the end of the third tournament in China leading into Cairo,” says Cartwright
Follow the team’s progress through www.basketball.org.nz and Basketball New Zealand social media channels: @BasketballNZFacebook, Twitter, Instagram.
Ten young men in the Under 18 New Zealand squad have been named to partake in the NBA's Asia Pacific Camp, to be held in Hangzhou, China from 18 to 21 June. New Zealand U18 Head Coach, Miles Pearce, will also attend.
The NBA officially released the names today. In total, 73 boys and girls from Australia, China, India, Korea and New Zealand will take part in what the NBA say is a camp for elite young basketball talent in the region.
Current NBA players Malik Beasley (Denver Nuggets), Andrew Nicholson (Brooklyn Nets) and Garrett Temple (Sacramento Kings) will join 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 to coach the 17 and 18 year old campers, who were selected by their respective basketball federations.
The NBA have said this camp, presented by Nike, will provide training and competition to take the participants' game to the next level, as well as teaching the players leadership, character development and life skills that will serve them well for future success.
Players and coaches will lead the campers through a variety of activities on and off the court, including movement efficiency, positional skill development, shooting and skills competitions, 5-on-5 games, and daily life skills seminars focusing on health, leadership and communication.
Nike, the Presenting Partner of the Asia Pacific Team Camp since 2011, will outfit the campers and coaches with Nike apparel and footwear.
Complete list of players participating in the fourth Asia Pacific Team Camp presented by Nike:
New Zealanders attending:
Cooper Boyce-Towler| Forward | Basketball Manawatu
Iaac Tama Faamausili | Guard | Basketball Manawatu
Tom Higgins | Guard / Forward | Basketball Auckland
James Moors | Forward | Harbour Basketball
Oscar Oswald | Guard | Basketball Manawatu
Kruz Perrott-Hunt | Guard | North Harbour Basketball
Oscar Robertson | Guard | New Plymouth Basketball
Cameron Trethewey | Forward | New Plymouth Basketball
Max de Geest | Guard | Canterbury Basketball
Matthew O'Connell | Guard | New Plymouth Basketball
First Published on NZ Basketball - basketball.org.nz
Junior Tall Blacks’ Quinn Clinton focused on FIBA U19 World Cup in Cairo
The last few months have been a notable time for Cantabrian Quinn Clinton, but a couple of upcoming events promise to be particularly special, possibly life changing for the former Christchurch Boys High standout.
Clinton played a major part in Junior Tall Blacks (JTB’s) team that created history with a 57-51 victory against Australia at the FIBA Under 18 Oceania Championships in December.
That victory in Fiji qualified the JTB’s for the FIBA Under 19 World Cup. This is the first time a New Zealand age group team has ever qualified for a FIBA World Championships.
Playing a major part in the victory against Australia is something of an understatement. The 1.9 metre guard top scored for the Kiwis with 14 points. Most notably, with his team trailing 51-49, Clinton drained two threes in the final 90 seconds to secure the win.
Junior Tall Blacks Assistant Coach Leyton Haddleton remembers the closing moments of that game.
“Quinn is a student of the game and has a great situational awareness, and this is a big factor in why he is a great leader.
“The three point go ahead shot against Australia is a specific moment that sticks out for me.
“He organised our offence to get the ball to a mismatch (post-up for centre Callum McRae), knowing that he would be open on the double team and for him to hit that shot says it all.
“It is the result of hard work and hours of practice put in so that he has the knowledge and skill to prevail in the big moments. Credit to him for putting in the work, but also equally credit to those who have been coaching and guiding him throughout his career so far.
“The Canterbury programme are doing a fantastic job of developing their talent and we as coaches at the international level are there to reap the rewards of the hard work they are putting in,” added Haddleton.
That is all history now as Clinton prepares not only for the upcoming Under 19 World Cup and soon after that the commencement of his US college career.
Clinton has signed a four year scholarship at St Mary’s College of California and will begin his freshman year soon after his JTB’s commitments conclude. St Mary’s is of course the former home of Aussie NBA stars Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova.
New Zealand Breakers and New Zealand Select Team Assistant Coach Mike Fitchett, who coached Clinton in New Zealand age group teams, has no doubt the shooting guard has the tools to flourish.
“Quinn was a pleasure to coach. He has a number of attributes that will help him become a successful college and professional player – work ethic, love for the game, basketball IQ, leadership and ability to shoot the ball being his most impressive traits.
“Like all players, he will need some time to adjust to bigger, stronger, faster athletes as he moves out of junior basketball, but I am confident he will be able to make that transition smoothly. I’m looking forward to following his progress at St Mary’s and hope to have the chance to coach him again in the future.”
Another who thinks highly of the 18 year old is Canterbury Under 19 coach Glenn Lang.
“He’s just outstanding, he’s a game winner and a leader. His basketball IQ is off the charts and he can turn a game, and he does.
“The good thing about him is he plays for his team and plays for the other players. He knows he can’t achieve these things without them and that’s the good thing about him. He has got a big future.”
Those comments from Lang came after Clinton produced 34 points, 16 rebounds and 9 assists to carry Canterbury to the Under 19 National title with a 94-89 fourth quarter comeback victory against Auckland last week.
Clinton has quickly moved on from his first national championship success and is fully focused on the World Cup.
“It was good to get game time at the Under 19’s as I hadn’t played for a while and it was certainly beneficial to find some rhythm.
He is looking forward to New Zealand playing Korea on 1 July, the opening day of the tournament.
“That game has been on my mind for a while now. We are certainly not heading to Egypt to make up the numbers. We feel we are capable of punching above our weight, going deep into the tournament and putting New Zealand on the map.”
The squad head into camp at the weekend and Clinton is looking forward to reuniting with his team mates.
“I can’t wait, it’s always a competitive environment and we all push each other to get better.”
The team will complete their final camp in Auckland on Wednesday, before they head to China for warm up games ahead of the World Cup.
“The preparation in China will be critical,” says Clinton. “A number of the guys haven’t played much recently and obviously as a team we haven’t played since December. It will be a great opportunity to work on different combinations and come together as a group before the real business begins in Cairo.”
Members from the Tall Ferns squad have converged on South Auckland as they begin their preparations for their first-ever Asia Cup appearance. The FIBA Asia Cup is also a qualifying tournament for the Women’s FIBA World Cup and offers the Tall Ferns their best-ever chance of qualifying through the new FIBA Asia Zone.
Of the 15 players heading into camp, the majority are based abroad, either playing in NCAA tournaments on U.S. Scholarships, or playing in professional leagues in Australia, Italy or Poland. Yet one player is not only still based in New Zealand, but is also yet to finish secondary school – 15 year old Charlisse Leger-Walker.
Leger-Walker is the daughter of Tall Fern legend Leanne Walker, and the sister of Tall Fern Krystal, who is also playing US scholarship basketball of the University of Northern Colarado.
Young Charlisse is already riding high after being part of the Waikato U19 team that won the Under 19 National Championships last night, one of many national champs to her name.
Charlisse is already well-known to the basketball community. She won the junior female basketball player of 2016 at this year’s Basketball New Zealand Awards; has represented Waikato in numerous representative teams, including the Waikato Wizards in the Women’s Basketball Championships. Charlisse has also helped her St Peter’s Cambridge school senior team win back to back New Zealand Secondary Schools Championships. She has represented New Zealand across a number of age ground teams too. And now she is vying for the title of youngest-ever Tall Fern, a team that Charlisse says she has dreamt about being part of for as long as she can remember.
“I'm really excited to have the opportunity to be a part of the programme at such a young age. My sister had her first trial when she was 16, so I think it's really cool to be following in her footsteps! My mum also captained the Tall Ferns and went to two Olympics, so I have gained a little bit of knowledge and insight from both of them, which makes going into the camp a little less daunting.”
Charlisse says her goals for camp are to learn what she can from some of the team’s more experienced players who have played US college ball, and have gone on to professional leagues and multiple Tall Ferns campaigns.
“I know that these girls are really top level basketballers, and most play overseas, so I think just playing alongside them would help me further my own skills. However, I do know that this is a trial and I will be playing as hard as I can to give myself the best opportunity to be a part of the team and the programme.
“My main focus is to learn as much as I can from all the coaching staff and also from the players themselves. One player that I look up to is Kalani Purcell. I'm aware of how well she is doing overseas and the level of basketball she is playing. She may not remember, but I did train with her once when she played for Waikato women's in WBC. Also Jillian Harmon, I remember watching and playing against her in the WBC when she played for Otago when I was 12,” says Charlisse.
Of course basketball is in the family bloodline and Charlisse is not short of help when in need of advice, including from sister Krystal.
“I look up to my sister too, she works hard and encourages me. We have had some good basketball battles in the past and I enjoy training with her when she is home. Mum even gets our little sister Tannika to have a run and work out with us.”
With so much basketball throughout the year, it’s easy to forget that this young talent is only 15 and she still has to find time for study as she approaches some testing years as big exams loom in the next few years.
“I try to balance school and basketball as best I can. As much as I want to train and be the best basketballer I can be, I know how important the academic side of things are, especially because I am looking to go over on a scholarship to the States when I finish high school. While I'm in camp I'll be in contact with my teachers trying to keep up with as much schoolwork as I can. The teachers and staff at St. Peter's are very supportive and helpful.”
One teacher who is especially supportive is Charlisse’s Mum, Leanne Walker, who is also the school’s head basketball coach. Naturally Mrs Walker is especially proud of her daughters and says her advice for Charlisse is reasonably straight forward ahead of the Tall Ferns camp.
“My advice to Charlisse is to go out there and learn as much as she can from the coaching staff and experienced players. To enjoy it, because that's why we play the game, and to make the most of the opportunity. I would tell her to play without fear, accept that mistakes will probably be made, but adjust and move on.”
Mrs Walker says she is full of proud for having two daughters in the Tall Ferns mix.
“Both entering the Tall Ferns’ culture at such a young age makes me very proud, it's great knowing that all of the work they put in, the support afforded to them by their family, coaches and friends, has realised for them many opportunities, both within the sport and outside of the sport too. Basketball is enabling them to study, travel make some lifelong connections and some awesome memories with like-minded people.
“It's great that they have each other too, because they can share each other's ups and downs…their younger sister also keeps them grounded! Hopefully their experiences help them to become strong, independent, humble, grateful young women.”
TALL FERNS WIDER SQUAD
North Harbour Breeze (WBC, NZ).
Born: October 30, 1993.
Having spent four years at Utah Valley University, Agnew is currently playing for Harbour Breeze in the Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC). She currently sits fourth in the points scoring category in the WBC averaging 16.8 points per game.
Agnew was a member of the New Zealand team that competed at the FIBA 3x3 World Championships in China last year.
Tall Ferns career: Uncapped.
Melbourne Boomers (WNBL, Australia), Sandringham Sabres (SEABL, Australia).
Born: January 10, 1992.
Played in the Australian WNBL for Adelaide Lightning in the 2015-16 season and Melbourne Boomers in 2016-17.
Is currently playing in the WNBL off-season with Sandringham Sabres in the South East Australian League (SEABL).
Graduated from Dickinson State University in 2014.
Debuted for the Tall Ferns in 2013.
Nottingham Wildcats/ Nottingham Trent University, (England).
Born: July 27, 1996.
Charlton joins the squad for the first time having recently played for UK National League Runners-up Nottingham Wildcats.
She has also had playing experience in Australia and Cyprus.
Tall Ferns career: Uncapped.
Townsville Fire (WNBL, Australia), Mackay Meteorettes (QBL, Australia).
Position – Combo guard.
Born: May 2, 1986.
Cocks won a silver medal with the national team at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and took up a four year scholarship at University of Oregon later that same year.
Cocks played for the Ferns at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Won the 2015 Grand Final MVP Award after helping the Townsville Fire win back to back Australian WNBL titles. She will begin her seventh season with Townsville in October.
Debuted for the Tall Ferns in 2005.
Antonia Farnworth (nee Edmondson)
Perth Lynx (WNBL, Australia), Perry Lakes Hawks (SBL, Australia).
Position – small forward.
Born: May 10, 1987.
Farnworth recently re-signed with Perth Lynx (sister team of the Perth Wildcats) for a sixth season beginning in October.
Plays for Perry Lakes Hawks in the Western Australian State League during the WNBL off-season.
Toni married husband Josh Farnworth in April 2017.
Debuted for the Tall Ferns in 2007.
Harbour Breeze (WBC, NZ).
Position – Forward.
Born: February 5, 1995.
Studying for her Masters in Biotechnology at Auckland University Franklin is the only player in the squad, other than Leger-Walker, not to have taken the US college or Australian Leagues route to further her basketball career.
Franklin plays for Harbour Breeze in the New Zealand WBC and this season averages 10.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
Debuted for Tall Ferns in 2014.
Le Mura Lucca (Italy).
Position – Forward.
Born: March 3, 1987.
Harmon played four years at Stanford University and has played in the Italian League since graduating 2009. Was a key player for Le Mura Lucca in its 2016-17 Italian Championship winning season (averaging 17.2ppg and 6.7rpg).
Spent one season in the WNBL playing for Townsville Fire – 2014/15.
Debuted for the Tall Ferns in 2008 and appeared at the Beijing Olympics in the same year.
Waikato Wizards (WBC, NZ) St Peter’s School, Cambridge.
Position: Combo Guard.
Born: September 15, 2001.
Still only 15 years old Leger-Walker has already played for a number of NZ age group teams. Has won back to back Secondary Schools National Championships with St Peters School.
Currently plays for the Waikato Wizards in the WBC where she leads the statistical categories for points (20.3pg), rebounds (9.8) and steals (4.8). She was also awarded the Lance McLoughlin Trophy for 2016 (Female Junior Player of the Year Award) at the Basketball New Zealand Awards this year.
Mother Leanne attended the 1990 and 1994 Olympics with the Tall Ferns and sister Krystal played for the Tall Ferns in 2014 and 2016.
Tall Ferns career: Uncapped.
Tulane University (USA).
Born: September 19, 1997
Recently completed her freshman year at Tulane University. Was MVP at the 2014 Secondary Schools National Championships where she led New Plymouth Girls High to the title.
Has played for a number of NZ age group teams.
Tall Ferns career: Uncapped.
Fresno State University (USA).
Born: September 10, 1997.
Formerly at Westlake Girls High School Noyer has recently completed her freshman year at Fresno State University.
Brother Karl has played for the New Zealand 3x3 national team.
Debuted for Tall Ferns in 2016.
Townsville Fire (WNBL, Australia), Mackay Meteorettes (QBL, Australia).
Born September 4, 1991.
Paalvast spent 5 years at Monmouth University, New Jersey and graduated in 2014. Became just the 17th player to score over 1,000 points for Monmouth.
Paalvast joined Micaela Cocks at Townsville Fire for the 2015-16 season helping them win a WNBL championship. Also played for the Fire in the 2016-17 season.
Like Cocks she is playing in the WNBL off-season for Mackay Meteorettes in the Queensland State League.
Debuted for Tall Ferns in 2015.
Brigham Young University – Provo (USA).
Born January 13, 1995.
Purcell comes from a family that has produced two other Tall Ferns, older sisters Charmian Mellars and Natalie Taylor.
Purcell had a two years stint at Hutchinson Community College before transferring to Brigham Young University.
In her first year at BYU in 2015-16 the Cougars won its first ever West Coast Conference regular season title and advanced to the NCAA championships.
She recently graduated as BYU’s seventh all-time leading rebounder (753) and second all-time in rebounds per game (12.4).
In April was invited to a training camp with WNBA team Dallas Wings.
Debuted for the Tall Ferns in 2013.
Artego Bydgoszcz (Poland).
Position: Point Guard.
Born September 9,1990.
Rooney spent 4 years playing in the USA – two years at Monmouth University followed by a further two years at Fordham University.
Had an outstanding final year at Fordham leading the Rams to their first Atlantic 10 title in programme history. Named First Team All-Atlantic 10. Became the first player in Fordham Women’s Basketball history to record 500 points, 200 rebounds and 150 assists in the same season.
Played professionally in France for two seasons in 2014-16.
In the recent European season played in Poland for Artego Bydgoszcz.
Debuted for the Tall Ferns in 2009.
Sunbury Jets (Melbourne, Australia).
Born: January 29, 1993.
Graduated from Colgate University in 2016 after an outstanding four year career in which she set a number of Colgate records.
Stockill ended her collegiate career as the programme's career leader for blocked shots in a game (13), season (105) and career (241).
Currently playing her first professional season with Sunbury Jets. The Jets are coached by Tall Ferns coach Kennedy Kereama.
Debuted for the Tall Ferns in 2014.
Brisbane Spartans (QBL, Australia).
Born: December 24, 1982.
Taylor (nee Purcell) joined older sister Charmian Purcell in the Tall Ferns in 2007.
She attended Hutchinson Community College, before transferring to Southeast Missouri State University.
Played for Christchurch Sirens in the 2007-8 Australian WNBL season ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Then played five seasons for Logan Thunder in the Australian WNBL either side of a season in Ireland.
Natalie helped University of Limerick to the 2011 Irish Super League title and was named Import Player of the Year.
Currently playing for Brisbane Spartans in the Queensland State League.
Debuted for Tall Ferns in 2007.
Two dramatic finals carried Waikato and Canterbury Combined to their respective 2017 Under 19 National Championships at North Shore Events Centre on Tuesday.
Canterbury Combined came from 17 points down at three-quarter time to steal a 94-89 victory against Auckland in the Men’s Championship game.
The Women’s Final was equally exciting, Waikato defeating Canterbury Combined 65-64, with the game decided on the last play of the game.
In the Women’s Final a Sapphire Wairau triple gave Canterbury the early lead and although Kaylee Smiler made a couple of early baskets for Waikato, Canterbury held a 21-13 first quarter advantage.
Esra McGoldrick, who finished with a massive double double (16 points and 24 rebounds) was the chief Waikato tormentor in the opening stages.
Amiee Book and Wairau made a couple of threes early in the second but Smiler and Charlisse Leger-Walker replied in kind to keep Waikato in touch.
Charlotte Whittaker stretched the Cantabs advantage to ten points but an 8-0 Waikato run, fuelled by a strong defensive patch, reduced the deficit.
Canterbury finished the half slightly ahead with a 33-30 advantage – Leger-Walker led all scorers with 13 points, McGoldrick matching that number in rebounds.
Book and Lauryn Hippolite kept Canterbury ahead but Leger-Walker and Smiler chipped away at the advantage.
A Kendell Heremaia put back reduced the arrears to one and when Leger-Walker increased her personal tally Waikato had its first lead of the game. McGoldrick neutralized that to tie the scores at 47 apiece with ten minutes to play.
Book and Hayley Ellis dropped threes to begin the final stanza before a Whittaker jump shot edged the red and blacks back into the lead, 55-54 at the back end of the fourth.
Book kept Canterbury ahead 63-60 with under two to play and time was running out for Waikato.
Following a time out called by coach Anthony Corban with 48 seconds to play the shot was entrusted with Heremaia, who hadn’t had the best of shooting games.
The Fordham University bound forward made no mistake with the three point attempt and on the next possession MVP Charlisse Leger-Walker scored the go-ahead basket.
There was drama at the end as Heremaia went from hero to possibl villain fouling Amiee Book as the clock expired. Unfortunately, after a fine game, Book only made one of the resulting free throws and Waikato edged the closest of games 65-64.
Heremaia said she felt reasonably relaxed stepping up for the critical shot in the final minute.
“I thought what the heck, it was a lucky shot,” she said modestly.
As for the late foul that could have cost her team dearly, she was annoyed with herself.
“I just thought oh no I that’s a dumb play. I knew I shouldn’t have done that – it was just a bad idea, said the Junior Tall Fern.
The Men's Final began with a three point barrage from Thomas Whyte (three in the quarter) to propel Auckland to a 30-17 lead against Canterbury Combined.
Max de Geest and Quinn Clinton found the basket for Canterbury but Tom Higgins and Anzac Rissetto produced points in the paint taking Auckland out to 46-28 at the mid point of the second.
Max Darling and Hayden Collier made baskets late in the quarter but Auckland on the back of a combined 38 points from the Tom’s, Whyte and Higgins led 58-41 at the interval - Auckland shooting an impressive 54% (21/39FG).
Randy Sjafrie extended the Auckland lead to twenty points before a couple of Hamish McDonald incisions gave Canterbury some hope.
A couple of Jack Morrison baskets and a pair of threes from Marvin Williams-Dunn and Whyte took Auckland to the cusp of the title leading 82-65 at the three-quarter break.
How that changed in the fourth!
Canterbury began the final period with a 10-0 run to haul themselves back into contention. Whyte made a basket for Auckland, their first of the quarter but Canterbury had all the momentum narrowing to 84-82 thanks to another Clinton score.
A Darling dunk and the scores were tied with 3:40 to play.
De Geest from the corner and remarkably Canterbury were ahead for the first time in the game, 86-84, with 2:56 to play.
Persistent work under the boards from Higgins tied the game, but de Geest replied much to the delight of the Canterbury support.
Darling dropped a couple of freebies to extend the Canterbury lead to four points, McDonald drew the offensive foul and the composed Clinton sealed a dramatic comeback, Canterbury winning 94-89.
Clinton, the Tournament MVP threatened a triple double finishing with 34 points, 16 rebounds and 9 assists.
“The team never gave up hope and we knew if we chipped away we could make a run. Even when down we didn’t get frustrated we held it together, stuck together and we won,” said Clinton.
“We had self belief, we’ve trained hard and it shows, we kept fighting for each other. We have an unselfish team, everyone plays their role.
“It’s my first national title and it feels pretty sweet, added Clinton.
Waikato 65 – Leger-Walker 31/10r, Smiler 13, Heremaia 8/9r, Poulava 6
Canterbury Combined 64 – Whittaker 17/13r, McGoldrick 16/24r, Book 14, Wairau 12
Women’s 3rd/4th play-off
Waitakere West 70 Taranaki 60
Canterbury Combined 94 – Clinton 34/16r/9a, Darling 19/11r, de Geest 14, Collier 8, McDonald 8
Auckland 89 – Higgins 27/14r, Whyte 26 (6/103PG) Rissetto 10, Williams-Dunn 8
Men’s 3rd/4th play-off
Manawatu 71 Waitakere West 68
Once again two young players with strong ties to the SKYCITY Breakers are set to benefit from that association with invites to the Nike All Asia Camp in China.
Breakers Academy players James Moors (Westlake Boys High/North Harbour Basketball) and Thomas Whyte (Auckland Grammar/Auckland Basketball) have been called up to the prestigious annual Nike sponsored camp, joining a host of players from throughout the Asia/Oceania regions to attend.
Breakers Academy Head Coach Mike Fitchett says international exposure for young players is vital, and the club has a great history of providing such opportunities.
“Part of any young player’s development is the chance to experience playing basketball overseas, with all the challenges that this brings from a travel, accommodation, culture and climate perspective.
“It is through our long association with Nike that we are able to nominate two athletes per year to attend this camp, it is one that we have had considerable success with in the past with Reuben (Te Rangi), Isaac (Fotu) and Tai (Wynyard) being named MVP, along with multiple others being named in the All Star 5 at the camp’s conclusion.
“It is a great opportunity for the players to grow and mature on and off court but also to scrimmage and play in front of NCAA College coaches and scouts, playing against the elite players from the Asia Pacific market to get a great gauge on where they are in the pecking order at this stage of their development.”
Further to the Nike All Asia Camp, James will stay on in China to also attend the Nike Team Camp, joining other members of the New Zealand U18 team in that opportunity.
James and Thomas have come through their local association and school programmes, and are in their second year on the Academy roster. Both have eyes on following an increasing number of young New Zealanders into the American College system.
“Our objective at the Breakers Academy is to provide players with the necessary tools to learn on and off court, to mature and develop as young men and basketballers to enable them to take the next steps into either the professional game, or to the USA to pursue scholarship opportunities.
“Not all follow the path into America however, we are equally happy to promote New Zealand tertiary options, while staying in the Breakers and New Zealand development programmes. We have forged close ties in particular with Massey University and can offer a strong pathway for players who prefer not to leave New Zealand and still pursue educational and basketball related goals.”
Thomas can’t wait for what he knows will be an invaluable learning opportunity.
“I’m really very grateful for the opportunity and support provided by the Breakers Academy. Participating in this Nike camp will enable me to match up against some of the region’s best players, and show where I need to improve further.”
Fitchett has no doubt that both James and Tom will do their families, school and association and the wider game in New Zealand proud.
“Both will be up to this challenge and I know will learn so much while away. This is about representing us as a basketball nursery in front of some of the best College scouts and coaches in the world, I have no concerns at all that they are up to it and will make the most of an exciting opportunity presented to them thanks to our partnership with Nike. Shane (Rose) and the team at Nike are equally passionate about these opportunities to promote our young talent on to the world stage and make sure that the entire experience is a good one for the players.”
Both players are currently involved in the Basketball New Zealand National U19 Championships, with final matches being played Tuesday at the North Shore Events Centre.
Moors Harbour team will be on court first up at 9am in their 5/6 ranking playoff match, with Whyte’s Auckland team playing in the men’s final at 5:00pm.
Read more about James More HERE
New Zealand’s hopes of creating further history at the FIFA U-20 World Cup are over for now after a second-half blitz from a classy USA outfit resulted in a 6-0 defeat in the sides’ Round of 16 encounter at the Incheon Football Stadium in Korea Republic.
Darren Bazeley’s men went into the clash aiming to become the first ever team from these shores to make it to the quarter-finals of the tournament and that dream was still very much alive at the half-time whistle, despite the USA holding a slender 1-0 lead.
While struggling to create clear-cut goalscoring chances, New Zealand had competed well in that opening period and it took a slice of luck for the Americans to get off the mark, a Justen Glad volley taking a heavy deflection off the impressive Joshua Sargent – who was later awarded the goal – to deceive goalkeeper Michael Woud in the 32nd minute.
The Kiwis remained well in the game until just past the hour mark, when the quality and strength in depth of the USA squad finally began to show as they scored five more times.
The New Zealand line-up, which featured Noah Billingsley in place of Sarpreet Singh in the only change from the France defeat, was restricted to no more than half chances in the first stanza and were left to rue spurning their best opportunity in the 55th minute. The score was still only 1-0 at that stage and Bazeley had just made an attacking change to try to force the equaliser – Billingsley making way for Henry Cameron – when the Oceania champions put together their finest move of the match down the right.
Joe Bell played a characteristically well-placed ball down the line for Jack-Henry Sinclair to run onto and pick out Moses Dyer just inside the box but the newly-named captain turned his effort agonisingly wide of the far post. It was as close as New Zealand would come and they were made to pay as the USA went on to take total control of proceedings with a scintillating offensive display.
Ironically, Bazeley’s side were enjoying one of their best spells of the game when the USA struck a telling second goal in the 64th minute, Jeremy Ebobisse spinning on the edge of the area before unleashing an unstoppable shot past Woud, who was again among New Zealand’s best showings despite having to pick the ball out of his net six times.
With nothing to lose, Bazeley immediately responded by going on the front foot, bringing off well-performed defender Hunter Ashworth for playmaker Singh, but that tactical switch had little impact on the USA’s momentum. Brooks Lennon burst down the right and finished calmly to make it 3-0 just seconds later and, from that point on, New Zealand could not cope with the American assault, Glad finally getting a goal to his name in heading home a corner in the 76th minute before substitute Auston Trusty came close to matching the quality of Ebobisse’s strike with a similar effort in the 84th minute.
The New Zealand camp, several of whom did not have fond memories of playing the USA after falling 4-0 to the same opponents in the previous edition of the FIFA U-20 World Cup two years ago, were now keen to hear the final whistle but there was still time for icing to be spread on the American cake as another substitute, Lagos Kunga, completed the scoring in stoppage time.
Bazeley and two members of the U-20 squad – Clayton Lewis and Dane Ingham, both withdrawn after the second group stage match to join the senior national team – will hope to get over the disappointment quickly with a positive showing with the All Whites in the upcoming FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
USA 6 (Joshua Sargent 32’, Jeremy Ebobisse 64’, Brooks Lennon 65’, Justen Glad 76’, Auston Trusty 84’, Lagos Kunga 90’ + 3’)
New Zealand 0
New Zealand: 1. Michael Woud (GK), 3. Sean Liddicoat, 5. Hunter Ashworth (18. Sarpreet Singh), 6. Joe Bell (16. Callum McCowatt 82’), 8. Moses Dyer (c), 9. Noah Billingsley (11. Henry Cameron (yellow card 79’)), 13. James McGarry, 14. Jack-Henry Sinclair, 15. Reese Cox, 17. Logan Rogerson, 19. Myer Bevan
Substitutes not used: 4. Luke Johnson, 7. Connor Probert, 12. Cameron Brown (GK), 20. Lucas Imrie, 21. Conor Tracey (GK)
Coach: Darren Bazeley
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