The New Zealand Under 16 girls basketball team, and the New Zealand Select Under 16 girls team have been named. These teams will travel to Australia in June and July to take on some of Australia's top junior teams.
Head Coach of the New Zealand Under 16 Girls team, Natalie Visger, says the wider squad is a very athletic and passionate group with a bright basketball future.
“All of the staff ended up on the same page with selections, which were based on four main things: One – will the player be effective at her position at the respective international tournament and will she stay on pace with her development? Two – does she show the commitment and work ethic to put in quality trainings away from camps, and to continue to improve? Three – does she fill a void or meet a critical role for the squad? Four – does she show a bit of toughness, spirit or can-do attitude?”
Despite being named in separate teams, Coach Visger says that the players have trained a lot together and the two teams will be preparing closely during their development.
“So far we have been doing pretty much everything together, and we will continue to work together to train individual skills and fundamental team skills. The ‘Xs’ and ‘Os’ will vary slightly on both ends of the ball, so that we have the best-fit scenario for each team. All of us as a staff agree that rebounding and defence are the backbone of great teams, and we hope to build those while adding our own twists along the development pathway.”
For the New Zealand Under 16s team, the pinnacle event with be the Australian Junior Championships in July. This tournament is the most prestigious age-group national basketball event in Australia, where the best of the best juniors in Australia and New Zealand compete. Coach Visger says the games will be fast paced and largely dictated by the players out on the court.
“We aren’t going to be able to influence the referees or expect much fan support, so these girls need to be prepared to fight and scrap their way through each game. I think we have a chance to make some waves and to play some very exciting basketball.”
The New Zealand Select Under 16 Team will compete in the Medibank Classic from 10 to 12 June, which is an invitational competition primarily for clubs. 2017 will be the second year that a New Zealand team will be invited to compete at this tournament.
New Zealand Under 16 Girls Team:
New Zealand Under 16 Girls and Select Girls Basketball Calendar: Event | Date | Location | Athletes Involved
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