Pita Maxwell-Topia will be following in his brothers’ footsteps when he begins a basketball scholarship next month.
However, unlike Reihana who is in his second year of four at St Francis University, Illinois on America’s East Coast, Pita is staying closer to home to be a student athlete at Lincoln University.
Pita’s last two years at Rosmini College were seriously disrupted by Covid. 2020 was almost a non-event and while 2021 was a little better Pita is hoping his move to Christchurch will coincide with a full season of tertiary and club basketball.
At least in 2021 Pita was able to play alongside Reihana for the first time in a couple of years with the pair suiting up in the same North Harbour team at U19 Nationals where Harbour finished third.
Whilst the American college pathway is well documented the Lincoln University route is recognised as a legitimate alternative for those student athletes wishing to remain in New Zealand to realise their academic and basketball ambitions.
Lincoln University Men’s Head Coach Tyla Harrison-Hunt is thrilled that Pita will be headed south for the upcoming academic year.
“Pita has a diverse skill set as a guard from a great programme at Rosmini. Lincoln University is really looking forward to having him down here to make an immediate contribution to our squad. His passing ability and shooting are solid with his keenness to distribute the ball is a real asset.
“The other scholarship recipients are Phoenix Sorenson (Mt Albert Grammar School) and the St Andrew’s College, Christchurch duo of Benji Freeman College and Tanae Lavery.”
Likewise, Rosmini College Head Coach Matt Lacey is delighted to see Maxwell-Topia furthering both his basketball and academic career.
“Pita was a part of our 2019 team that finished runners-up at the Secondary Schools National Championships. It is great to see Pita following many of his teammates in pursuing a collegiate basketball scholarship.
“The NZ university pathway is one that is becoming more recognized as a legitimate way to continue to pursue your sporting and academic goals. We are all looking forward to watching Pita’s growth down in Canterbury” added Lacey.
Pita becomes the eighth Rosmini student- athletecurrently on a basketball scholarship with the other seven based in the States:
William Heather – junior at Dallas Baptist University
Reihana Maxwell-Topia – sophomore at University of St Francis, Illinois
Sean Murphy – freshman at University of Nebraska-Kearney
Taine Murray – freshman at University of Virginia
Kruz Perrott-Hunt – junior at South Dakota University
Leo Wenham -freshman at Southeast College
Marvin Williams-Dunn – sophomore at Ouachita Baptist University