The FIBA Under 17 Oceania Championships tip-off next Monday in Noumea, New Caledonia, with both our boys and girls looking to go one better than their predecessors.
The tournament will feature eight different nations in a men’s women’s divisions, with all of them set to stake their claim as the best in the region.
The last Under 17 Oceania Championship saw both National teams finish runner’s up to Australia, each side was well beaten in the big dance.
Under 17 Men's Head Coach Aaron Ferne said whenever you’re playing international basketball the opposition can never be taken lightly.
“It’s an honour to play for your country and anyone in any singlet will tell you that.
“Getting intel and scouting some of the Pacific nations is pretty difficult, so we’re going in a bit blind and with that, we’ll have to play what’s in front of us and adapt.
“We want to qualify for FIBA Asia and that means playing well in Oceania. If we play with belief and effort we’ll give ourselves a chance.”
The men will be without FIBA World Cup bolter Taine Murray as he continues to press his claims for a boarding pass to China. He has been replaced by Harbour representative Harrison Payne.
Payne will join the team in Noumea after taking part in the Basketball Without Borders Asia Camp in Tokyo, Japan, which kicked off yesterday and runs until Sunday.
The women’s squad has also made one change, with Chynelle Marama coming in for the injured Waiata Jennings. Jennings alike Murray is a big blow, but the team is still spearheaded by three members of the 2019 Aon Under 19 National Championships tournament team; Rochelle Fourie, Jess Moors and Caitlin O’Connell.
Under 17 Women’s Head Coach Hernando Planells said the Oceania Championships are a great opportunity for players to develop, but also to gain life experience.
“Being able to travel anywhere for basketball is a privilege, and so our time in New Caledonia is sure to be a great cultural experience.
“In saying that though, we have to remember that this is a business trip and we have some goals to achieve while we’re there.
“We want to play to our strengths and so over the next few days we’ll be relearning a lot of things, which will put us in a good position for next week.”
Earlier this year, Basketball New Zealand hosted the New Caledonian Under 17 National teams, as they took part in Basketball New Zealand age-group selection camps.
Both teams will tackle Australia, Guam and Samoa in the group stages, with a high placing setting them up for a playoff contest against a lower placed side in the other pool.
The top two teams from each division will advance to the FIBA U18 Asian Championship in 2020, which is the official qualifier to the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup.
All matches streaming live at https://www.youtube.com/user/FIBAWorld/
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand