The good news keeps on coming for New Zealand Basketball with Tobias Cameron, the freshman guard at Abilene Christian University and Matt Freeman the junior forward at Oklahoma University becoming the latest Kiwis headed to the NCAA Tournament.
Cameron, son of FIBA Hall of Famer Pero Cameron, is in his first year at Abilene – a historic one for the Wildcats who have booked a ticket for the Big Dance for the first time with a 77-60 win in the Southland Conference Tournament Final. The Cats boast a 27-6 record this season but face a daunting prospect drawn against perennial powerhouse Kentucky in the first round.
Freeman and the Oklahoma Sooners didn’t qualify automatically but received an at-large berth and will face the University of Mississippi in the first round on Friday.
Dan Fotu and Quinn Clinton, members of the St Mary’s College California team are West Coast Conference champions progressing to the NCAA Tournament after ousting #1 ranked Gonzaga that boasted a 30-3 record.
In something of an upset Jack Salt and Virginia University Cavaliers were ousted 69-59 at the semi-final stage of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament by Florida State.
A day earlier Jack had posted a career high 18 points (7/8FG, 4/5FT) as Virginia eliminated North Carolina State in the quarters. He also came up with 6 rebounds and a block.
Despite the defeat Virginia will still be headed to the NCAA Tournament as one of four top seeds on the back of an outstanding season accumulating 29 wins and just 3 defeats. Salt and the Cavaliers have progressed to the NCAA Tournament every year during his five seasons (one as a red shirt freshman) at Virginia.
There will also be major New Zealand involvement at the Women’s NCAA Tournament with a trio of Kiwis at both Fordham University and Brigham Young University (BYU) getting their dancing shoes dusted off.
BYU have three Kiwis in their lineup – juniors Shalae Salmon and Khaedin Taito plus redshirt freshman Kaylee Smiler.
The Fordham University trio of Mary Goulding, Kendell Heremaia and Zara Jillings were crowned Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament champions and also progress directly to the NCAA Women’s Division I Tournament.