The Tall Ferns basketball squad has been reduced to 14 players ahead of the European leg of their current tour.
Understandably head Coach Kennedy Kereama has opted for experience as the team builds towards the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in France next month.
As such the players that made their international debuts in China, Brooke Blair and Katelin Noyer, have been released from the squad.
“It was tough having to make selections and leaving both Katelin and Brooke behind as we move on to the next part of our journey, said Kereama.
“They have both been great and it’s always tough to leave someone out when they haven’t put a foot wrong,” he added.
18 year old Noyer graduated from Westlake Girls High School in 2015 and will be heading for Fresno State University on a four year basketball scholarship next month. Noyer departs at the end of June, to begin her studies at summer school and also embark on training with the Bulldogs.
The 6’4’’ centre has played the majority of her representative basketball for Waitakere and during the past two years has played for the Waitakere Lady Rangers in the national Women’s Basketball Championships (WBC).
Brooke Blair is towards the other end of her collegiate career.
Blair attended Rangitoto College, played representative basketball for North Harbour age group teams and Harbour Breeze, and has spent the last 3 years in the States. She spent two years at Northeastern Junior College, Colorado before moving on to Idaho State University. The 21 year old guard started in all 33 games for the Bengals averaging 12 points per game in the 2015-16 season.
Blair will spend a little time with her family on the North Shore before returning to the States. Beyond that professional basketball in Australia is a possibility.
Blair is seen as a point guard at international level, a position she occupies for Idaho State, but currently she sits behind the experienced trio of Micaela Cocks, Erin Rooney and Jordan Hunter in the Tall Ferns pecking order.
At 6’4” Noyer is one of the taller players on the Tall Ferns radar but her lack of experience counts against her at present with the likes of Penina Davidson, Jillian Harmon, Lisa Wallbutton, Jess Bygate, and Josie Stockill all preferred options. In addition Cantabrian Tessa Boagni, unavailable for the current campaign, will likely come back into the reckoning in future seasons.
Both players will feature in the New Zealand Select team to play China B in Auckland over Queens Birthday Weekend.
The remaining 14 players in the Tall Ferns squad are:
- Micaela Cocks, aged 30, from North Harbour, plays for Townsville Fire
- Antonia Edmondson, 28, Canterbury – Perth Lynx
- Kalani Purcell, 21, Counties Manukau – Brigham Young University-Provo
- Erin Rooney, 25, Canterbury – Cote D’Opale Basket Calais, France
- Lisa Wallbutton, 30, North Harbour – Perth Redbacks
- Jessica Bygate, 24, Nelson – Adelaide Lightning/Sunbury Jets
- Chevannah Paalvast, 24, Waitakere – Townsville Fire
- Jordan Hunter, 25, Counties Manukau – Lady Hawks
- Deena Franklin, 21, North Harbour – Waitakere Lady Rangers
- Krystal Leger-Walker, 18, Waikato – Waikato Wizards
- Josie Stockill, 22, Hawkes Bay – Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
- Jillian Harmon, 29, New York – Le Mura Lucca, Italy
- Stella Beck, 20, Hutt Valley – Saint Mary’s College, California
- Penina Davidson, 20, Waitakere, University of California, Berkley