There's been plenty of great secondary school basketball this year. Below are five individual boys and girls we've watched and spoken to in 2017.
Mitchell Dance (Rosmini College) - Dance wasn’t even supposed to go to Nationals after injuring his ankle in Rosmini’s Zone I success, but the guard is made of tough stuff and showed his exceptional quality by winning Nationals 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 has been a regular selection in national age group rep teams.
Max de Geest (Christ’s College) - Christ’s were massive improvers in basketball this season rising from 20th to 4th at Nationals, losing to eventual winners Rosmini College in overtime in the semi-finals. Much of Christ’s improvement was driven by guard Max de Geest. The leading scorer for Christ’s in their narrow 62-60 loss to Cashmere in the Thompson Cup final, de Geest drove the team to even greater heights when he helped Christ’s claim the South Island title for the first time and then was named on the tournament team at Nationals. In 2018 the National age-group rep will head to Division 1 NCAA College Long Beach State on a basketball scholarship.
Dan Fotu (Rangitoto College) - At some stage in mid-2018 Daniel Fotu will head to San Francisco to link up with NCAA Division I outfit St Mary’s College. Fotu was again outstanding in the Rangitoto singlet in 2017. He led his school to the Auckland title and top scored with 28 points in the National final as Rangitoto narrowly lost to Rosmini. Fotu has been a New Zealand rep at Under 16, 17, 18 and 19 levels.
Grace Hunter (St Mary’s College) - The national age group representative guard was the outstanding captain of the St Mary’s team in 2017 who swept the Wellington, Zone III and National titles. Hunter scored 11 points in the final; against St Peter’s Cambridge and always impressed with her quick, dribbling, precise passing and astute leadership. She was named Wellington girls Basketballer of the Year at the College Sport Wellington Awards.
Charlisse Leger-Walker (St Peter’s Cambridge) - Leger-Walker is the most dominant age group female player in New Zealand. She was named MVP of the National Secondary Schools tourney in October as well as the under-19 and 23 Nationals MVP this year. Charlisse is a regular starter in the Waikato Wizards in the National Women’s competition and at only 15 years of age is on the cusp of Tall Ferns selection already.
The Champion of Champion series is not intended to be a definitive list of the ‘best’ athletes in each code, rather it celebrates many of the leading athletes and teams in each that College Sport Media has followed this year. Preference has gone to those individuals/teams that CSM has interviewed and profiled in 2017. Got a story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand