“I’ve been in the league for five years and guys like Matt Freeman, Tai Wynyard and Sam Waardenburg have been a really positive influence. They lifted the standard and made it more competitive. They have given everyone else more to aspire to,” Kruz Perrott-Hunt acclaims.
The Rosmini College guard is hoping to join the aforementioned names in the US on scholarship next year and has made a good start to 2018 in pursuit of that goal.
After four rounds of the wildly unpredictable Auckland Premiership basketball competition, Rosmini is the only unbeaten side and Perrott-Hutt has averaged 24 points per game.
At last year’s National Secondary School Championships in Palmerston North, Perrott-Hutt was selected in the tournament team as Rosmini claimed the title.
It would appear to be business as usual for the North Shore juggernaut?
“Were a very different team to last year. We’ve lost three of our ‘bigs’ which means we’ve really focussed on our fitness to become a fast moving and shooting team,” Perrott-Hunt reveals.
“We went to a pre-season camp in Tauranga and started training at midnight on a Friday. That was hell,” he continued laughing wryly.
On Friday, Rosmini met their fierce local rivals Westlake Boys’ High School for the first time this season. Initially the lessons of Tauranga appeared to be forgotten as Westlake jumped to a 30-17 lead after the first quarter.
“Our goal was restrict the scoring of Sam Mennenga and Tom Cowie, but we didn’t do that. If you look at the stat line they both scored 30 plus points,” Perrott-Hunt complains.
However Perrott-Hunt dominated the opening moments of the second period, nailing eight straight points, as Rosmini closed to within seven points. Kainoa Lepoa then nailed four consecutive triples as Rosmini surged ahead 54-45 at halftime.
In the second-half Rosmini led by as many as 17 points eventually winning 103-93, Perrott-Hunt finished with 21 points.
“It was a typical Westlake versus Rosmini match. Every possession was hard fought. I’m proud of the way the boys hung in at the start and got a run going later,” Perrott-Hunt enthused.
Rosmini’s 110-59 blowout win against National final opponents Rangitoto College was anything but normal. Rangitoto are winless after four games.
“They won’t be down for long. They have too many good players in their team,” Perrott-Hunt warns.
“When we played them our hustle and execution was great from the outset and I guess they were a little shell-shocked. It was one of those games where everything went right for us,” Perrott-Hunt elaborated.
Perrott-Hunt ended with a game high 31 points, but his best effort this season is 34 points in a 108-77 mauling against Avondale College.
In addition to Rosmini, Perrott-Hunt is a North Harbour and New Zealand Under-19 representative. This weekend the National Under-19 competition is being staged in Auckland and North Harbour’s goal is to win the title. In 2017, North Harbour bombed finishing in 13th place.
“We’ve got a good team with the likes of Ethan Mandeno, Sam Mennenga and Tom Cowie. We're definitely going into it with a mindset to win. A lot of the systems we play are the same as we use at Rosmini so personally that makes the transition into the reps a little easier,” Perrott-Hunt says.
North Harbour is grouped with Wellington, Taranaki and Tauranga. The final is played on Queen’s Birthday Monday.
A strong showing at Nationals will enhance selection prospects for the Junior Tall Blacks. Perrott-Hunt is a member of the New Zealand Under-19 wider training squad.
In August the Junior Tall Blacks are bound for the FIBA Under-18 Asian Championships in Thailand. The top four teams will qualify for the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Championships.
The Junior Tall Blacks competed at the biannual World’s for the first time in 2017 after a maiden victory over Australia at the 2016 FIBA Oceania Under-18 Championship.
Elsewhere in Round four of the Auckland Premiership, Mount Albert Grammar School heaped more misery upon struggling Avondale College trouncing the bottom placed school 85-43. Auckland Grammar School beat Rangitoto College 84-74 while St Kentigern College thrashed St Peter’s College 92-61. Zach Chan hit eight three pointers for St Kent’s. The explosion of three point shooting is a major and recent change in the sport.
“I think it’s great. It means big guys have to be more versatile and not just rely on dominating the key,” Perrott-Hunt observers.
Perrott-Hunt is from an accomplished basketball family. His mother Angela coached the New Zealand U16 girls while his sister Georgia was on scholarship at the University of North Dakota.
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