Tall Ferns head coach Kennedy Kereama has named a blend of youth and experience in the squad of players that will attend a selection camp in Auckland early next month (June 6-12).
Despite a couple of notable absentees it is a squad Kereama is happy with.
“The staff and I are very excited about the list of players that will be available. We are very confident that the group of players that we have selected is the best to choose from.
“We have managed to bring in most of our more experienced line up with a mix of potential players who will no doubt play a part in the future of the Tall Ferns program. I think it is important to have a good balance of experience and emerging youth.
“There are some exciting new names on the list such as Kayla Manuirirangi, Georgia Agnew and Charlisse Leger-Walker to name a few. All have had very good college experiences and will be coming into camp for their first opportunity. This is a very exciting time for them and I know that our experienced players and leaders such as Antonia Farnsworth (nee Edmondson), Jillian Harmon, Micaela Cocks and Natalie Taylor will do a great job of bringing them into the Tall Ferns way of life at camp.”
Farnsworth, Cocks and Taylor each boasts over a decade of international experience whilst, in contrast,Manuirirangi, Agnew and Leger-Walker will be entering a senior national camp for the first time.
Agnew, now studying physiotherapy in Auckland spent four years at Utah Valley University and Manuirirangi is a freshman at Tulane University.
Also entering a full international camp for the first time will be 15 year-old guard Charlisse Leger-Walker. The Year 11 student at St Peter’s School, Cambridge has already played for a number of New Zealand age group teams but this will be her first venture into the senior ranks.
Kereama added, "There are a select few players who unfortunately due to collegiate commitments or injury will be unavailable this year.”
Leger-Walker’s older sister Krystal, having recently completed her first year at the University of Northern Colorado, is one missing due to university obligations.
A couple of regulars from recent Tall Ferns campaigns, Stella Beck and Penina Davidson, are also unavailable for the same reason. Beck, recently named Female Player of the Year at the Basketball New Zealand Awards evening is entering her senior year at Saint Mary’s College in San Francisco and Davidson is also embarking on her final year at the University of California Berkley.
Kereama is philosophical about the loss of some talented players. “I believe the programme has done a great job of blooding so many players over the last few years that we will have enough experience and developing talent to get the job done.”
Following the camp the team will be selected for a tour of China and Singapore before the Tall Ferns compete at its first FIBA Women’s Asia Cup.
The 2017 tournament will be staged in Bangalore from July 23-29. For the first time Australia and New Zealand will compete at the tournament alongside six Asian teams in Division A.
New Zealand has been drawn in Pool A alongside perennial powerhouse China, Chinese Taipei and the DPR of Korea
The top four teams from the tournament will qualify for the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup.
Tall Ferns Selection Camp Squad
Georgia Agnew –Harbour Breeze / NZL
Jessica Bygate – Melbourne Boomers/ Sandringham Sabres /AUS
Tea Charlton – Nottingham Wildcats/Nottingham Trent University /ENGLAND
Micaela Cocks – Townsville Fire/ Mackay Meteorettes /AUS
Antonia Farnworth (nee Edmondson) Perth Lynx/ Perry Lakes Hawks /AUS
Deena Franklin – Harbour Breeze /NZL
Jillian Harmon – Le Mura Lucca /ITALY
Charlisse Leger-Walker – Waikato Wizards /NZL
Kayla Manuirirangi – Tulane University /USA
Katelin Noyer – Fresno State University /USA
Chevannah Palvaast – Townsville Fire/ Mackay Meteorettes /AUS
Kalani Purcell – Brigham Young University /USA
Erin Rooney – Artego Bydgoszcz /POLAND
Josephine Stockill – Sunbury Jets /AUS
Natalie Taylor – Brisbane Spartans /AUS
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