Monthly Archives: May 2020

Sal’s NBL ’20 Draft – What do we know?



We are less than a week away from the Sal’s NBL naming its Top 14 players for the upcoming 2020 season.

The independent Panel will sit down next Friday and Saturday to pick those 14 players ahead of the inaugural NBL Draft on Thursday 11 June.

Player Registration doesn’t close until Friday June 5 so expect more names to reach the public domain in the coming days.

For now the Lowdown has sifted through the players named to date and come up with the following that will form the nucleus of the 14 to be chosen by Messers Boucher, Flavell, Beynon and Nelson.

We’ve also attempted to list the clubs that these players will be eligible to be pre-selected by given the four criteria that apply – apologies if this is not 100% accurate:

1) The player has lived in the team’s allocated region for no less than 10 years at any one time.
2) The player has attended school in the team’s allocated region for no less than 4 years.
3) The player has previously played the bulk of their NBL minutes for the team.
4) The player had previously signed for the team for the 2020 Sal’s NBL season.

1 Mika Vukona (Nelson Giants)

2 Jarrod Kenny (Auckland Huskies and Franklin Bulls)

3 Jack Salt (Canterbury Rams, Bulls and Huskies)

4 Tohi Smith-Milner (Giants, Bulls and Huskies)

5 Tom Vodanovich (None of criteria apply therefore a Free Agent)

6 Hyrum Harris (Free Agent)

7 Taylor Britt (Canterbury Rams)

8 Sam Timmins ( Otago Nuggets, Rams and Bulls)

9 Derone Raukawa (Free Agent)

10 Taane Samuel (Manawatu Jets)

11 Joe Cook-Green (Rams and Nuggets)

12 Everard Bartlett (Free Agent)

13 Mike Karena (Giants and Rams)

14 Dane Brooks (Taranaki Mountain Airs)

Bubbling Under

Dom Kelman-Poto (Bulls and Huskies), Tai Wynyard (Bulls and Huskies), Alex Talma (Rams, Bulls and Huskies), Shane Temara (Jets), Tom Ingham (Giants), Jackson Stubbins (Jets)

Additional US College returnees

Isaac Davidson (Bulls and Huskies), Kane Keil (Bulls and Huskies), Jayden Bezzant (Free Agent), Jordan Hunt (Free Agent).

At this stage you would imagine Tom Vodanovich would be the No 1 Free Agent with Hyrum Harris a close second.

The Giants will obviously select Mika Vukona as there No 1 pick but with options on Mike Karena (attended Nelson College) and Tohi Smith-Milner (played bulk of his NBL minutes with the Giants) and Tom Ingham who will be their second pick from the Top 14 players.

Equally intriguing will be the Rams top two choices – Salt and Britt you would imagine but Cook-Green’s return from the States makes him an intriguing proposition.

The Huskies and Bulls are new kids on the block and the Nuggets are an old kid returning. Bet the Nuggets would love to have Timmins and Cook-Green at the top of their playing roster but they may have to go for a draft pick or two if they are stymied by the Bulls and Rams.

More names will be released this week from the list of over 400 players that have registered for Sal’s NBL 20 to date.

For now it’s fun to speculate.

1980 Tall Ferns

1980 Team

Researching the past Tall Ferns teams I was sent this photo of the 198O team. I hadn’t realised that Keith Mair had been involved with the Women’s international programme before taking on the Men’s Head Coach role.

The 1980 team hosted Kentucky State University in a four game series before heading to Taiwan for the William Jones Cup.

Please share this photo with those you know will be interested and let me know if you are able to add value to the short player bios below.

Ann McLouglin – Hutt Valley and Whangarei representative Ann McLoughlin played almost 80 games for the National Team between 1979 and 1988. she appeared at the William Jones Cup in 1980 and 1981, the 1983 Commonwealth Championships in New Zealand and at two FIBA Qualifying Tournaments.

Corrina Poto – Averaging 9.6 points per game, Corrina was New Zealand’s second highest scorer at the 1988 Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Corina Cordzt had a scoring explosion at the 1994 FIBA World Championship in Australia scoring 25 points against Kenya. Made over 50 appearances in an international career that stretched from 1979 to 1994. In her senior year at Utah State University in 1982 she dished a record 14 assists in one game – a school record that still stands. One of the premier players of her era, with terrific ball handling skills – reportedly she played for the Auckland senior team as a 12-year-old. Mother Agnes Poto was Women’s National assistant Coach in 1983.

Sharon Rennell – Hutt Valley and Canterbury representative Sharon Rennell played five seasons on the national team between 1969 and 1980.

Di Robertson – Hawkes Bay representative Diane Robertson played over 40 games for the Tall Ferns from 1978-1984, the point guard captaining the team in the final year. Won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Tournament in 1983. She won seven national titles captaining the Hawkes Bay and Napier teams between 1978 and 1987. Her mother Dot Leitch was also a former New Zealand representative who was capped in 1949 and 1955. In 2010, she became the first basketballer, male or female, to be inducted into the Hawkes Bay Sports Hall of Fame.

Ann Robertson – Ann ‘Robbie’ Robertson holds the unique distinction of playing (1979-80) and coaching (1988-89) the Tall Ferns. The astute small forward began her career on the West Coast before winning multiple titles with Auckland as both a player and a coach. Her Auckland coaching tenure saw the team win 8 national titles in 12 years.

Lynne Gillies (Pugh) – Guard Lynn Gillies, out of Napier, appeared in 35 games for New Zealand, 1978-1982.

Debbie Smith – The 1980 season was Rotorua representative Debbie Smith’s  only season  in the international programme.

Carolyn Grey – One of the true legends of the game in New Zealand Carolyn had a thirty-year representative career and played for the Waikato WBC team as recently as 2012 at the age of 58! A terrific athlete and tenacious competitor Carolyn represented New Zealand from 1977-1985, selected to the All-Star 5 at the William Jones Cup in both the 1980 and 1981.  She made 70 appearances in the black singlet and was inducted into the BBNZ Hall of Fame in 2016 and a Legend Award in 2017.

Maree Brunton – Wellington representative Maree Brunton. She was comfortable playing any position from point guard to the three spot. She played close to 30 games for the National Team in three campaigns. Later she went on to coach the Wellington team.

Christine Heremaia – Christine Heremaia was a Canterbury representative.

Jenny Mather – A long serving representative player, Jenny played for both Hutt Valley and Napier. Jenny captained the Tall Ferns in 1979 and 1980.

Heather Grayburn (van Siekke) – Heather Grayburn played representative basketball for North Harbour and Otago. She played almost 50 games for the national team over 5 seasons between 1977 and 1981 captaining the side in 1981.

Marvin Williams-Dunn Commits to Ouachita Baptist University

Marvin Final

Marvin Williams-Dunn has committed to Ouachita Baptist University on a four-year basketball scholarship.

The athletic point guard had originally committed to Utah State Eastern Junior College but when the coaching structure at USE changed, Marvin and his family began to review their options.

Ouachita Baptist University Tigers Head Coach Dennis Nutt was quick off the mark.

Not only does Coach Nutt have 20-years of coaching experience to draw on when assessing the capabilities of young athletes but the former guard played collegiately at Texas Christian University, played in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks and had a spell with the famous Real Madrid club in Spain.

Nutt is excited to have Marvin join the Tigers basketball programme.

“Marvin will bring immediate help at the point guard position. He has competed on a very high level in New Zealand which will benefit him greatly. Our staff was really impressed with his confidence as well as his skill set. He has a chance to be a special player in our system.

“We can’t wait to get him on campus,” he added.

The Tigers play in the NCAA Division II Great American Conference. Nutt has taken the team to two Conference Tournament Championships (2013 and 2016) and also a Regular Season Championship in 2015.

Marvin has enjoyed an outstanding junior career playing for the Rosmini College Premier team in all five of his high school years – he holds the unofficial all-time games played record at the college. Rosmini appeared in three consecutive Schick Nationals Grand-Finals in his final three years at the school, playing a pivotal role in the their back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018.

He played his age group representative basketball for Waitakere West, Auckland and Harbour, gaining New Zealand National selection on a number of occasions.

In 2018 he played at the FIBA Asian U16 Championships in China. Later that year he captained New Zealand at the FIBA U17 World Cup in Argentina, leading the team in assists (2.9apg) and was also the second highest points scorer tallying 7.9 points per game.

In 2019 Marvin played for NZ U18 Men at the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup in Malaysia and earlier that year led the Rosmini team to a highly respectable sixth place at the ISF Basketball World Schools Championship in Greece.

“Ouachita approached me last year but I had already committed to Utah State at that time. But when the situation changed at Utah earlier in the year Coach Nutt messaged me again and things happened pretty quickly after that,” said Marvin.

Asked whether he was up to the challenge of NCAA basketball Marvin’s response was emphatic.


“I’m looking forward to playing for and learning from Coach Nutt. He’s an experienced coach, who’s played in the NBA so it will be a fantastic opportunity for me.”

Marvin is hoping to make a suitable impression when he links up with his new teammates.

“A number of last year’s players were seniors so there will be minutes up for grabs so I’m going in with the opportunity to work hard and earn court time in my freshman season.”

Ouachita Baptist University is in Arkadelphia, Arkansas and Marvin will be headed that way in August.

“The campus is not too big, it’s besides the Ouichita River and the surrounding area looks similar to New Zealand.”

Understandably Marvin is thankful for the help that he has received.

“My parents (Audrey and Channon) have played the biggest part in my development so I need to thank them. I would also like to thank Matt Lacey for helping me with the recruitment process and of course I’m grateful to the coaching staff at Ouichita for the opportunity.”

“It’s really exciting, a dream, I’m looking forward to being a Tiger!”

Marvin is the latest Rosmini alum to sign a four-year US basketball scholarship, following William Heather (2018) and Kruz Perrott-Hunt (2019) who play at Dallas Baptist University and the University of South Dakota respectively.

Everyone who knows Marvin will wish him well and know he will be a great ambassador for New Zealand.