The National Secondary Schools' boys AA basketball champions are in Palmerston North next week.
The tournament always throws up plenty of names to watch. Here are a few names that could catch fire in 2015.
Tai Wynyard - The six foot nine power forward from Rangitoto College became the youngest man to play for the Tall Blacks in 2014 when he stepped onto the court against Korea.
He has captained the Junior Tall Blacks, appeared for the New Zealand Breakers and signed a high profile scholarship to the famous University of Kentucky in the US.
Rangitoto won the Auckland title and their Regional title in 2015 and are perhaps the favourites to capture their first national title.
Wynyard with his height, athleticism and accurate shooting can completely dominate a game.
Sam Aruwa - Sam is one of the leading basketball players at Auckland Grammar School. The Year 12 power forward has represented the New Zealand Under-17 team. He also toured Australia with the New Zealand Under-16 team in 2013. New Zealand won three out of four game and Aruwa was the highest scorer in two games.
Aruwa travelled to Las Vegas to try out for opportunities in the US earlier this year and made a strong impression as have Auckland Grammar in 2015. They were a top four Auckland School and beat Westlake Boys and Rangitoto during the season.
Logan Elers - When Logan Elers was Year 10 at Rotorua Boys’ High School, basketball wasn’t a sport that was taken very seriously. Elers remembers “walking” into the top team and several boys in his first season frequently missing training.
Last year Rotorua finished a respectable ninth at the National Secondary Schools tourney and this year they made their first ever Super 8 final, narrowly losing to Hastings Boys’ High School in the decider.
Logan is a 1.96m-tall forward. He was the only Rotorua player named in the 10-strong New Zealand team that competed at the Australian Under-18 Championships last year.
He has trailed twice for the New Zealand Breakers and in 2014 was a member of the Rotorua team that won the National Under-19 title.
Logan is the deputy sports captain at school and a part time Maths tutor. He has been awarded the most outstanding players at Boys’ High for the last three years.
Isaiah Jones-Mitchell - The Year 11 guard from Hastings Boys' High School scored a game-high 21 points and won the tournament MVP award at the Super 8 tourney in June. Hastings won the Super 8 crown for the second time in three years.
Jones-Mitchell stands 188cm, which is small in basketball terms. However he is noted for his quickness of movement, superior passing and sound judgment. Hastings is regularly in the top ten at Nationals and the form of Jones-Mitchell will be key to leading Hastings to that sort of position again.
Shay Graham - Onslow College won the Wellington competition beating Newlands College 78-65 in the final. Graham top scored in the final with 21 points. Graham is a prolific scorer, he was the second highest scorer in Wellington.
Shay's sporting interests are not confined to basketball. He has made a mark as a rower and played rugby for the Onslow first XV this year.
He was selected for the North Island under-18 team rowing team last year, has been a medallist at the Maadi Cup regatta and won a North Island title.
His rowing prowess attracted interest from Ivy League universities in the US but he decided that his heart lay with basketball.
His twin sister Tegan also plays basketball for Onslow.
Matt Freeman - Westlake Boys' High School have won the national championship five times in the last decade and finished second last year.
Freeman who stands 206cm and 91kg is the key player for the North Shore powerhouse. He is a swift moving small forward with the ability to hit shots both inside and outside the key.
Freeman was a member of the New Zealand 3x3 under-18 team that won the World Championships and has represented New Zealand at under-18 level.
Earlier this year he was invited to attend the inaugural Basketball without Borders Global Camp in New York. Forty leading youngsters from around the world were selected to participate in skills, games and theory sessions with some of the leading coaches in the USA.
Quinn Clinton - The Year 12 from Christchurch Boys' High School was a sensation at the National Under-15 championships a year ago being named most valuable player for the tournament.
Clinton scored a game-high 33 points in the final, while also grabbing 14 rebounds, as Canterbury lost a tense decider to North Harbour 80-77.
In Canterbury's semi-final victory over Waitakere West, he was just as destructive, racking up 43 points and 12 rebounds, while landing nine three-pointers from 16 attempts.
Clinton has played for the Canterbury Rams and has represented New Zealand at Under-16 level.
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