The Under 17 New Zealand Men’s team enjoyed some solid training runs and practice games on Auckland’s North Shore at the weekend, prior to their departure for the upcoming FIBA Oceania Championships. Three hit outs against the North Harbour Under 23’s (plus guests) helped head coach Seth Weakley and his assistant Dave Mackay iron out a few flaws and implement some game strategies.
The team heads for Melbourne on Tuesday, the three game series against Australia to be played on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The winners of the series will progress to the 2014 Under 17 World Championships being staged in the Middle East for the first time – Dubai to host the tournament next August.
The Under 17’s certainly don’t lack height boasting a front court of Sam Timmins (Otago Boys HS), Matt Freeman (Westlake Boys HS) and the Rangitoto College duo of Tai Wynyard and Yuat Alok, all four 6’9” and growing! Tai earns selection having already played for the NZ Under 16’s this year, his size and raw potential too great for the coaching staff to ignore. The guard duties will primarily be in the hands of Waikato’s Nikau McCullough (St Johns) and Otago’s Richie Rodger (Kavanagh College). Wellington’s Isaac Latoa and Otago’s Joseph Cook-Green the most likely to provide energy off the bench.
Swing man options abound, Jackson Stent (Westlake), Kane Keil (Auckland Grammar) and Isaac Davidson (Rangitoto) will all have an eye on the starting three man spot with Stent possibly having the inside running.
For the record the three games against Harbour were split 2-1 in favour of the locals. Good to see Breakers Development Player Luuk Witteveen enjoying his first competitive games in a number of weeks having been sidelined with a serious wrist injury.