News

Tall Blacks squad announced

Originally published at basketball.org.nz. Basketball NZ have named a 14-man roster to travel to Asia to prepare for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament in the Philippines in July, with a final roster of 12 to then travel to Europe for further preparation before the FIBA Olympic Qualifier in Manila from July 5. Tall Blacks Head Coach Paul Henare highlighted the importance of a core group of players who have considerable international experience, with Mika Vukona, Tom Abercrombie, Corey Webster, Isaac Fotu and Rob Loe being the heart and soul of a team. “Our core group of players brings something very special to the team and to our culture, in many ways they are the culture and set the standards for others to follow and have done for many years now," said Henare. “In these modern days of professional sport, playing for the Tall Blacks is a bit of a throwback, in many ways it is ‘old school’ in how and why sport used to be played. "Playing for the Tall Blacks is an honour and privilege – and a hard earned one at that. It is about pride in your country, pride in the jersey and a determination to do everything you can alongside your mates to uphold the tradition of those who have worn the singlet before you, often against the odds. “Mika, Tom, Corey, Ike and Rob and others before have contributed so much to the rich and storied history of this special team. These players will be the backbone of our efforts to qualify for Rio. But despite the many sacrifices they have all made, if you ask any of them today I am betting none of them will regret a single moment, such is the mana of being a Tall Black and how it enriches all involved.” The naming of this team also represents something of a changing of the guard, with a new generation of players emerging alongside that vastly experienced talent. Henare says this exciting group of young men are deserving of their chance to lead the team forward in pursuit of the team’s primary goal – qualifying for the Rio Olympic Games. “Our number one goal is to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games. I have every belief that we can overcome the odds and achieve that goal. And yes, we will be underdogs, but how many times are we ever the favourites going into a big contest? The Tall Blacks have shown through the years that we don’t mind playing the part of David, often in the past we have thrived on it, and we aim to bring down a Goliath or two in July.” The guard line features Jarrod Kenny, who impressed so much against the Australians in the Oceania Championships that he went on to secure a contract with the Perth Wildcats, along with the exciting combo-guard Tai Webster, who returns after missing the 2015 campaign and Shea Ili, who earns his selection on the back of an impressive season with the Breakers. Young Canterbury Rams guard Ethan Rusbatch is rewarded for his strong season with a place in the touring party for the first time after appearing at the trials last season. Sharpshooters Corey Webster and Everard Bartlett will be charged with heating up from outside, with Webster also a chance to be given some time in the point guard role. Both are experienced now at international level and will not be fazed coming up against higher ranked opponents in Manila. Mika Vukona, Tom Abercrombie and Isaac Fotu lead the forward line, with Jordan Ngatai, debutant Finn Delany and the recalled BJ Anthony also in the mix. Fotu’s versatility at international level will see him a vital member of the touring party, with an ability to play in the 4 or 5 spot for Henare, with Rob Loe and Canterbury big man Michael Karena the two centre’s named in the touring party. Full Roster Tom Abercrombie, Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir (Turkish League)/NZ Breakers BJ Anthony, Wellington Saints (NZNBL) Everard Bartlett, Southland Sharks (NZNBL) Finn Delany, Nelson Giants (NZNBL)/NZ Breakers Isaac Fotu, CAI Zaragoza (Liga ACB) Shea Ili, Wellington Saints (NZNBL)/SKYCITY Breakers Michael Karena, Canterbury Rams (NZNBL)/Wright State University (NCAA) Jarrod Kenny, Nelson Giants (NZNBL)/Perth Wildcats Rob Loe, Limburg United (Belgian League) Jordan Ngatai, Taranaki MountainAirs (NZNBL) Ethan Rusbatch, Canterbury Rams (NZNBL) Mika Vukona, Supercity Rangers (NZNBL)/NZ Breakers Corey Webster, Supercity Rangers (NZNBL)/NZ Breakers Tai Webster, Nebraska Cornhuskers (NCAA)
NEWS

Report: Makur Maker Signs NBA Deal

22 hours ago

NBL23

Analysis: Breakout Candidates

22 hours ago

NEWS

Humphries Drawn to United "Prestige"

23 hours ago

FREE AGENCY

36ers Add “Extra Edge” to Roster

23 hours ago

NEWS

NBL Trading Cards Return With Topps

23 hours ago

GAME REPORT

Gaels Overrun Phoenix in OT Thriller

1 day ago

FREE AGENCY

Hawks Welcome Emerging Point Guard

1 day ago

WORLD CUP

Jackson Makes Fairytale Opals Return

1 day ago

FREE AGENCY

Phoenix Add Promising Local Forward

1 day ago

GAME REPORT

St Mary's Beat United in NBL23 Teaser

2 days ago

LaMelo Ball Leads Hawks, Taipans Beat Bullets Again

16 September 2019

Fourth Place Frustration for Boomers in China

15 September 2019

FIBA World Cup Bronze Medal Game | Australia v France Preview

15 September 2019

Prather Shines In United's Big Win, Taipans Smash Bullets

14 September 2019

Starting Five: World Cup Heartbreak

14 September 2019

Spain Again Breaks Boomers Hearts in Double OT

13 September 2019

Watch Live | Illawarra Hawks vs Melbourne United

13 September 2019

FIBA World Cup Semi-Final | Australia v Spain Preview

13 September 2019

Starting Five: Boomers Two Wins from Gold

12 September 2019

Australia Advance to World Cup Final Four

12 September 2019

NBL Partners

Naming Rights
Major Partners
Broadcast & Media Partners
Profile Partners
Suppliers
Associates