It’s probably no coincidence that New Zealand’s leading scorers in collegiate basketball, Charlisse Leger-Walker and Aniwaniwa Tait-Jones have also played the most minutes.
Playing decent minutes, no matter what the level of college competition, is down to a combination of ability, opportunity, attitude, patience, playing at the appropriate level and good fortune. Many on the lists below, like Tobias Cameron, Kaylee Smiler and Tessa Talo-Tomokino, have had to bide their time before playing big minutes.
It’s unusual for freshmen to play substantial minutes, particularly at NCAA Division I level, so hats off to the athletes below who are making a mark in their first collegiate year’s.
For some a year or two playing junior college basketball, before transferring to university programmes, has proven a beneficial route – Hannah Wentworth, Ashlee Strawbridge and Ella Bradley are three such cases.
When you consider 64 Kiwi women are playing collegiate basketball in North America in 2022-23 the list below shows that approximately two thirds of the players are averaging less than half a game.
The numbers are very similar for the men with 18 of 53 playing 20 minutes are more.
It will be interesting to see if the numbers move significantly in the second half of the season as freshmen and sophomores gain more experience and earn more trust from their respective coaches. I suspect not as the onset of conference play often results in a shortening of rotations.
|Minutes Played per game – Women||Class||University/College||Level||MPG||Games|
|Charlisse Leger-Walker||Junior||Washington State||NCAA D1||34.8||12|
|Te Araroa Sopoaga||Sophomore||Cloud County CC||JUCO||31.9||14|
|Kaylee Smiler||Senior||BYU||NCAA D1||30.7||11|
|Tessa Talo-Tomokino||Junior||Northeastern State||NCAA D2||30.2||9|
|Samantha Jenkins||Sophomore||Dawson CC||JUCO||29.0||13|
|Amiee Book||Grad Snr||Fresno State||NCAA D1||28.7||13|
|Helen Matthews||Junior||Wofford||NCAA D1||28.1||11|
|Leah Mafua||Soph||Dodge CITY CC||JUCO||27.9||14|
|Hannah Wentworth||Sophomore||Eckerd College||NCAA DII||27.4||11|
|Waiata Jennings||Freshman||Collin County CC||JUCO||27.0||12|
|Dani Bayes||Freshman||Boise State||NCAA D1||26.1||13|
|Jenna Rose Mafua||Soph||Dodge City CC||JUCO||25.1||14|
|Tayla Dalton||Junior||St Mary’s California||NCAA D1||24.4||12|
|Ella Paleaae-Cook||Sophomore||Miles CC||JUCO||24.2||15|
|Ashlee Strawbridge||Sophomore||New Mexico State||NCAA D1||24.0||12|
|Arielle Mackey-Williams||Sophomore||BYU||NCAA D1||23.6||12|
|Olivia Williams||Sophomore||UC Irvine||NCAA D1||22.9||11|
|Ella Brow||Freshman||Southern Methodist||NCAA D1||22.4||12|
|Ella Bradley||Sophomore||Texas at Tyler||NCAA D2||22.1||11|
|Grace Hunter||Junior||CSU Bakersfield||NCAA D1||21.5||6|
|Dominique Stephens||Sophomore||Rocky Mountain||NAIA||21.2||12|
|Emme Shearer||Junior||Portland||NCAA D1||20.5||13|
|Lilly Parke||Freshman||Auburn at Montgomery||NCAA D2||20.3||12|
*records as at 28.12.2022
** 64 New Zealand women are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.
|Minutes Played Per Game – Men||Class||University/College||Level||MPG||Games|
|Aniwaniwa Tait-Jones||Junior||Hawaii at Hilo||NCAA D2||32.8||8|
|Ezra Vaigafa||Soph||Neosho County CC||JUCO||31.3||3|
|Alex Blackmore||Soph||Castleton||NCAA D3||30.9||9|
|Callum McRae||Senior||Sacramento State||NCAA D1||30.8||12|
|Sam Mennenga||Junior||Davidson College||NCAA D1||30.7||12|
|Flynn Cameron||5th Yr||UC Riverside||NCAA D1||28.3||12|
|Kael Robinson||Soph||Rocky Mountain||NAIA||27.9||12|
|Kruz Perrott-Hunt||Senior||South Dakota||NCAA D1||27.8||12|
|Tobias Cameron||5th Yr||Abilene Christian||NCAA D1||25.5||13|
|Sean Murphy||Soph||Nebraska at Kearney||NCAA D2||23.9||10|
|Mac Stodart||Soph||Colorado-Colorado Springs||NCAA D2||23.5||12|
|Boston Caldwell||Fresh||Central Maine CC||JUCO||22.9||10|
|Maxim Stephens||Junior||Rocky Mountain||NAIA||22.8||5|
|Kiani Saxon||Soph||Louisiana State Eunice||JUCO||21.5||11|
*records as at 28.12.2022
NB 53 New Zealand men are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.