Basketball is underway around the country as winter sports kick into gear. The 2017 National finalists Rosmini College and Rangitoto College have already played once and the result was significant. Here are some individuals to watch from around the nation.
Jake McKinlay, Callum McRae and Oscar Oswald (all Palmerston North Boys’ High School) quickly graduating to starters in the Manawatu Jets is proof of Palmerston North’s strength in recent seasons. McKinlay is another lad from Palmerston North BHS on the Jets roster. A member of the NZ U17’s squad, McKinlay is a rangy and skilful presence who will be guarded closely.
Mitchell Dance (Rosmini College) - Dance wasn’t even supposed to go to the Nationals last year after injuring his ankle in Rosmini’s Zone I success. However the New Zealand U17 guard is made of tough stuff and showed his exceptional quality by winning National MVP as Rosmini won the title for the first time since 2011. Dance top scored for his team in the final collecting 26 points and 10 rebounds. Dance toured China with the NZ Under-17’s recently helping New Zealand gain a place at the World Championships. Dance well be will supported by his New Zealand Under-17 teammate Kruz Perrott-Hunt who is quick across the floor and boasts superior passing skills. On Friday night in Rosmini’s first meeting against National runners-up Rangitoto College, Perrott-Hunt scored 31 points.
Ethan Mandeno (Rangitoto College) -Rangitoto had just one survivor from the 2017 Grand Final when they played their opponent in that fixture against Rosmini College for the first time on Friday night. Rosmini scored a commanding 110-59 victory, but loan survivor Mandeno did manage 25 points and is shaping as a key figure for a rebuilding Rangitoto. Mandeno will soon be rejoined by New Zealand U17 representative Logan McIntosh who was a Nationals tournament team selection last year. Rangitoto have been to the last three National finals, winning twice and it’s only May.
Ezrah Vaigafa (Rongotai College) - Vaigafa played a starring role for the Wellington U15’s in their national championship win last year. After coming tenth in 2016, Wellington won the tourney last with Vaigafa scoring 38 points, and claiming nine rebounds and six assists in the final. Vaigafa helped Rongotai reach the Zone III final, their best result in many years. Vaigafa is aligned with the Saints and is a vital leader in the Rongotai roster.
Tom Cowie (Westlake Boys’ High School) - The point guard has been selected to be a part of the Breakers Academy and moved from Southland Boys’ High School at the start of the year. Cowie a New Zealand U17 representative had already had an NBL game for the Southland Sharks.
Will de Geest (Christ’s College) - Christ’s College won the Canterbury title for the first time in many years in 2017 and then advanced to the semi-finals of Nationals and lost to eventual champions Rosmini College in extra time. Will de Geest, a Canterbury age group rep standard talent, returns hoping to match the feats of his executional brother Max de Geest who was named in the National Secondary Schools tournament team and was awarded Canterbury Rams Junior Male Player of the Year. Max has signed for a scholarship to Long Beach State University in California, but has deferred entry until 2019.
New Zealand U15 squads selected
The 2018 New Zealand Under 15 boys and girls national basketball squads have been selected after a Basketball New Zealand age-group selection camp in April.
Both Under 15 teams will represent New Zealand at the 2018 FIBA Oceania Championships in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, in December
See the squad lists here: https://www.collegesportmedia.co.nz/basketball/nz-u15-boys-and-girls-basketball-squads-selected
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