Last week we took a look at the New Zealand women in NCAA Division 1 colleges. This week we provide a half-term report on the nine blokes playing in Division 1.
Tai Webster is having a stand out season for the Nebraska Cornhuskers having scored in double figures in every outing this season 20,10,23.16,19,23,12,12,20,22,17,10,21,18,23,17. The Tall Blacks point guard leads the Huskers in points (17.7ppg) and assists (4.1apg) as his team currently boasts a 3-1 record in Big Ten Conference play – their beast start in 41 years. Webster was voted Big Ten Conference Co-Player of the Week in the first week of January after Nebraska won on the road at Maryland and Indiana. Webster averaged 19.5 points, 3.5 assists and 3.0 steals across the two games.
Tom Vadonovich is in his final year at James Madison University has made over 100 appearances for the Dukes. The former St Pat’s College forward is averaging 7.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game this season with a college career high of 18 points against Western Michigan back in October.
The Dukes are currently 3-1 in the Colonial Athletic Conference.
Angus Riley is averaging 3.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game at Bryant University where the Bulldogs are 1-3 in the Northeast Conference, one of the losses in overtime another by three points. The ex Nayland college forward scored a season high 11 points against Salve Regina in November. His career best of 18 points came against Prairie View A&M last season.
Zach Young is finding minutes hard to come by at Nicholls State Colonels. A member of the 2012 Junior Tall Backs, alongside fellow Wellingtonian Vadonovich, Young is averaging 2 points per game with a season high 10 points scored against Thomas University in December. The Colonels are 9-7 overall this season and 2-1 in Southland Conference play.
Jack Salt is having a fine season anchoring the defence at the Tony Bennett coached Virginia Cavaliers. The 6’11” centre has started every game for the No 11 ranked Cavs that are 12-3 for the season and 2-2 in the strong Atlantic Coast Conference. The former Westlaker averages 4.6 points per game but it is at the defensive end where he averages 4 rebounds per game that he is most effective. Had a season high 10 points against Robert Morris in December.
The first year in college is normally about transitioning from high school basketball to a totally different environment and culture. Obtaining a decent chunk of court time is often difficult at best.
Izayah Mauriohooho-Le’Afa has transitioned better than most becoming a regular starter at Sacramento State. Overall Le’Afa is averaging 3.9 points per game but in the three Big Sky Conference games – unfortunately all lost by the Hornets – he has upped his average to 9.3ppg playing 30 minutes per fixture. The former St Pat’s point guard had a season best 11 points against Portland last week landing all three efforts from beyond the three-point arc.
Tai Wynyard is struggling to make an impression at the NBA factory otherwise known as the University of Kentucky. Wynyard has clocked less than 3 minutes per game in his 10 appearances for the Wildcats and has accumulated just 8 points and 9 rebounds for the No 6 ranked college team in the nation.
The third ex Westlake Boys student at a Div 1 school is Matt Freeman. He started with a hiss and a roar for Oklahoma Sooners scoring 15 points on debut for last season’s NCAA Championship semi-finalists. As expected in a first season the swingman’s form and opportunities have fluctuated although he has been given court time in every Sooners game. Freeman is averaging 4.6 points and 2.0 rebounds across 15 games. Oklahoma are struggling a little in the Big 12 Conference with a 0-4 record.
Former Otago Boys High, and briefly Middleton Grange, forward Sam Timmins has been providing good minutes, 14 on average with a season best 25, for the University of Washington where the Huskies are 1-2 in Pac-12 action, 8-7 overall.
Having made 7 starts this season Timmins corralled a season high 11 rebounds against Western Kentucky and averages 3.4 boards and 3.7 points per game for the Huskies.