Half Term Report Part 3 – Taking the Minutes

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 – WomenClassUniversity/CollegeLevelMPGGames
Charlisse Leger-WalkerJuniorWashington StateNCAA D134.812
Te Araroa SopoagaSophomoreCloud County CCJUCO31.914
Kaylee SmilerSeniorBYUNCAA D130.711
Tessa Talo-TomokinoJuniorNortheastern StateNCAA D230.29
Samantha JenkinsSophomoreDawson CCJUCO29.013
Amiee BookGrad SnrFresno StateNCAA D128.713
Helen MatthewsJuniorWoffordNCAA D128.111
Leah MafuaSophDodge CITY CCJUCO27.914
Hannah WentworthSophomoreEckerd CollegeNCAA DII27.411
Waiata JenningsFreshmanCollin County CCJUCO27.012
Dani BayesFreshmanBoise StateNCAA D126.113
Jenna Rose MafuaSophDodge City CCJUCO25.114
Tayla DaltonJuniorSt Mary’s CaliforniaNCAA D124.412
Ella Paleaae-CookSophomoreMiles CCJUCO24.215
Ashlee StrawbridgeSophomoreNew Mexico StateNCAA D124.012
Arielle Mackey-WilliamsSophomoreBYUNCAA D123.612
Olivia WilliamsSophomoreUC IrvineNCAA D122.911
Ella BrowFreshmanSouthern MethodistNCAA D122.412
Ella BradleySophomoreTexas at TylerNCAA D222.111
Grace HunterJuniorCSU BakersfieldNCAA D121.56
Dominique StephensSophomoreRocky MountainNAIA21.212
Emme ShearerJuniorPortlandNCAA D120.513
Lilly ParkeFreshmanAuburn at MontgomeryNCAA D220.312

*records as at 28.12.2022

** 64 New Zealand women are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

Minutes Played Per Game – MenClassUniversity/CollegeLevelMPGGames
Aniwaniwa Tait-JonesJuniorHawaii at HiloNCAA D232.88
Ezra VaigafaSophNeosho County CCJUCO31.33
Alex BlackmoreSophCastletonNCAA D330.99
Callum McRaeSeniorSacramento StateNCAA D130.812
Sam MennengaJuniorDavidson College NCAA D130.712
Flynn Cameron5th YrUC RiversideNCAA D128.312
Kael RobinsonSophRocky MountainNAIA27.912
Kruz Perrott-HuntSeniorSouth DakotaNCAA D127.812
Sam GoldSophMilliganNAIA25.712
Tobias Cameron 5th YrAbilene ChristianNCAA D125.513
Sean MurphySophNebraska at KearneyNCAA D223.910
Mac StodartSophColorado-Colorado SpringsNCAA D223.512
Isaac Miller-JoseSeniorManitobaCanada23.38
Boston CaldwellFreshCentral Maine CCJUCO22.910
Corey Le’aupepe SeniorMenloNAIA22.813
Maxim StephensJuniorRocky MountainNAIA22.85
Finn McClureJuniorMilliganNAIA22.68
Kiani SaxonSophLouisiana State EuniceJUCO21.511

*records as at 28.12.2022

NB 53 New Zealand men are currently on basketball scholarships in America and Canada.

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