Breakers Development trials concluded

Thirty young athletes will have to wait a few days before finding out which of them will be selected for Sky City Breakers Development players places for the 2014/15 season.

Over 50 players applied to participate in the trial from which 30 were invited to attend the two-day work out at the Breakers training facility in Mairangi Bay. Five or six of the thirty will be invited to make up the ‘D’ squad when team training gets underway in September.

Breakers head coach Dean Vickerman has revamped his senior squad, selecting a more athletic, defensively capable unit. He and his coaching team are likely to be doing the same when selecting the Development group.

Breakers Academy head coach Judd Flavell was delighted with the overall standard of the group. “Eight or nine years ago when I started at the Breakers the development players virtually selected themselves. At that time we were selecting 21 or 22 year olds because they were the one’s doing well in the NBL but these days we have teenagers really pushing for places and a lot of youngsters with NBL teams or coming through the Breakers Academy.”

With one eye on the future and the other on immediate needs such as covering for injuries to senior players, we can expect players named to be covering a variety of positions. The age range will also be reasonably wide as well.

Flavell added, “These days we are not shy of throwing a teenager into the mix in the same way that the Tall Blacks have. It’s great because it is just increasing our pool of talent.” Two who fit into that category are Tai Wynyard and Yuat Alok.

Tall Black Wynyard at just 16 years is a certainty and Alok his teammate at Rangitoto College is another strong candidate. Both are very young but provide the rim protection that the coaching staff is keen to develop.

Ultimately Wynyard will be heading to college in the USA but Alok’s future is less clear. He is more likely to remain domiciled in New Zealand and Breakers management may well feel it worthwhile investing in the 6’8’’forward.

Both will need their workloads managing closely to enable them to complete their high school studies.

Jordan Ngatai was a solid performer at the trial. At ANBL level he is probably undersized to play in the four spot but he has US College, NBL and Tall Blacks experience under his belt already and he is still only 21. Ultimately he may have to, like Duane Bailey, develop the skill set to be a three man but he is certainly capable of providing immediate injury cover should injuries sideline senior players.

Shea Ili caught the eye in the scrimmages displaying not only his ability to attack the basket off the dribble or in transition but also knocking down a reasonable percentage of outside shots. His quickness and tenacity is also a benefit at the defensive end of the court.

If my four picks above are proven correct that then leaves one or two places up for grabs and a whole host of players worthy of selection. Marco Alexander, Ana Haku, Ethan Rusbatch and Alonzo Burton all had their moments but then again so did a number of other players. Burton, with a year as a development player already under his belt, may have the inside running.

The future of New Zealand basketball is on the rise and the Breakers programme is certainly playing a major part in player development.

Breakers Development Trials Part 3

Teams for scrimmage games on Sunday – Duane Bailey, Jack Salt and Reuben Te Rangi added to the trial group.

Coach Fitchett

Alexander, Gerrand, Tolovae, Rusbatch, Stent, Haku, Payne and Bailey

Coach Larsen

Jones, Letoa, Witteveen, Woodbridge, Ngatai, Brooks, Freeman, Salt

Coach Haddleton

Lacey, Albertsen, Rodger, Anderson, Colenutt, Vaiangina, Barrow, Te Rangi.

Coach Tait

Ili, McCullough, Raukawa, Burton, McQueen, King-Hawea, Alok, Wetzell

Breakers Academy Trials Part 2

There are a total of 16 players that have played in the NBL this season attending trials for the Breakers Development player places for the 2014/15 ANBL season. Continue reading

Breakers Academy Trials Part 1

The Sky City Breakers are about to announce 30 players who will trial for Development player spots for the 2014/15 ANBL season. The trials will take place at Atlas Place this coming Saturday and Sunday. Continue reading

Harbour Breeze secure WBC title

The 2014 WBC Grand Final featured North Harbour Breeze and Waikato Wizards. The Wizards were backing up after a hard fought semi-final victory over competition favourites ACM Hawks, the Breeze a more straightforward success against Waitakere Rangers. Continue reading

Harbour Breeze meet Waikato Wizards in WBC Final

Waikato Wizards forward Miriam Stevens knocked down a couple of free throws to draw first blood in the first WBC Championship semi-final against Auckland Counties Manukau Lady Hawks.

 The Wizards held a slender 19- 15 lead at the end of the first quarter. Continue reading

Semi-Finalists found at WBC

New Zealand Home Loans Canterbury Wildcats went down 67-66 in overtime against the Waitakere Lady Rangers in the opening game of the WBC tournament in Porirua leaving them a must win game against Auckland Counties Manukau Lady Hawks in the late game on Thursday. Continue reading

Early games on Day 1 at WBC

New Zealand Home Loans Canterbury Wildcats are staring down the barrel of elimination early on day one of the WBC tournament in Porirua. Continue reading

WBC title on the line this week

The third and final tournament of the Women’s Basketball Championship begins on Thursday July 31st in Porirua.

The first two tournaments involved all nine provincial teams playing each other to determine placings for the Plate and Championship competitions . The top six teams to contest the championship are divided into two pools.

Pool A features the Auckland Counties Manukau Lady Hawks, New Zealand Home Loans Canterbury Wildcats and Waitakere Lady Rangers.

The Hawks have an all international starting five that includes current Tall Ferns Natalie Taylor, Jordan Hunter and Kalani Purcell. Not surprisingly the Hawks are the leading offensive team in the competition averaging 63 points per game. They also boast the leading rebounder in the competition Charmian Mellars who has hauled in 15.5 boards per game and will likely progress from their pool unbeaten .

The Canterbury Wildcats will have the same squad that served them well in the previous two tournaments. Guard Shea Crotty captains the team that perhaps relies a little too much on centre Tessa Boagni who is averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds a game. Forward Bridgette Lawn and Laken Wairau will provide good support for Boagni, the red and blacks strong contenders for a sem-final spot.

The Rangers look as if they will be without the services of Emma Bergin and Penina Davidson. Davidson has headed to the University of California, Berkley to begin her College basketball career. The team will miss her 15 points/9 rebounds per game contribution, meaning the likes of Wuanyei Ah-Hing, Natasha Hall, Millie Nathan and Stevee Theyers will carry a heavier workload. However they will be boosted by the addition of guard Te Oramae Solomon, back from Junior College in the USA.

In Pool B Waikato Wizards, North Harbour Breeze and Oceana Gold Rush Otago each have a nice blend of youth and experience on their rosters.

Only ACM Hawks have scored more points than the Wizards, the Waikato team boasting the best shooting percentage from behind the three-point arc (36.7%). Rhaiah Spooner-Knight has contributed 15 points a game and has been ably supported by Jess Tuki, Natasha Lenden veteran Leanne Walker and daughter Krystal Leger-Walker (10ppg).

Harbour Breeze welcome back forward Rebecca Van Kuyk to their line up. The only teams to defeat ACM Lady Hawks, the Breeze have been blowing hot and cold in the competition to date. With Kuyk, Deena Franklin (leading offensive rebounder), former Tall Fern centre Karlene Kingi and young tyro Tera Reed in the front court they possess enough firepower to trouble any team in the competition. Consistent performances from their guards will be key to a strong Harbour showing.

Double international Suzie Bates is not only New Zealand White Ferns leading run scorer in recent times but also the leading points scorer in the WBC this season, averaging 16 points per game. Powerhouse Samara Gallaher (16pts/9reps per game) and Janet Main were outstanding for Otago in the last tournament, the southerners swarming defence giving up just 50 points per game. Otago comfortably beat North Harbour the last time the two teams met, Bates, Gallaher and Main all contributing double-digit points hauls. A repeat performance would likely carry Otago into the semi-finals.

The teams finishing bottom of pools A and B will contest the Plate competition with last year’s tournament winners, Capital Flyers, Probands Nelson Sparks and Rotorua Vols. Playing on their home court and with Stella Beck back in their line-up the Flyers start as slight favourites to lift the minor silverware.

Auckland Counties Manukau and Waikato Wizards are the likely finalists in the Championship.

The players will have the added incentive of playing for international as well as provincial honours. At the conclusion of the WBC tournament a squad will be named to attend Tall Ferns trials. The Ferns are likely to be contesting a four team tournament in China during late August.

Tall Blacks are 35 Days away from the World Cup

The Tall Blacks enjoyed a reasonably light final training session prior to a late night flight to South Korea on Saturday night. Continue reading

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