Category Archives: College Hoops

Kiwi debutants shine as American College season opens.

Covid continues to wreak havoc with American college basketball. Numerous programmes won’t start until January and others have closed down completely for the 2020-21 season.

However there is some good news as many universities have kick started their seasons this week allowing a number if Kiwis to show their worth.

Hats off to NCAA Division I freshmen Tayla Dalton, Helen Matthews (pictured), Emme Shearer and Sam Mennenga in particular.

Here is the wrap on the major happenings in the last couple of days:

https://nz.basketball/at-a-glance-kiwi-debutants-impress-in-us/

Sean Murphy the latest Rosminian headed to the States

This story was originally posted on the Basketball New Zealand website.

Sean Murphy is the latest Kiwi to accept a basketball scholarship in the USA.

The 18-year old Rosmini College and North Harbour representative will be attending the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) to play under Head Coach Kevin Lofton.

After talking at length with Coach Lofton Murphy developed a rapport with the long time UNK mentor.

“I really liked him a lot from the first time we spoke. Coach has been with UNK for 25 years and the past five as Head Coach, so I felt he had a pretty good apprenticeship with the University and he must be doing a lot right and have a true passion and respect for the school and his players.  We talk a lot and I felt the fit was good for me and my goals.

“The second thing is playing in a high level Division II Conference. When Coach told me it was ‘dog eat dog’ out there every game, I knew this would be a great challenge for me to expand on my skillset and help me develop even further.

“The third thing is the actual University. Nebraska at Kearney is a very respected academic school in the Mid-West and the major that I am leaning towards ranks very highly at UNK from right across America.  So, with a great academic programme also on tap for me this made the decision easier also.”

The UNK basketball team are known as ‘The Lopers’ and are an NCAA Division II university

and play in the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

Naturally, Murphy is looking forward to linking up with the Lopers.

“I’m looking forward to meeting my new coaches and team-mates and finally get down to training and playing the game I love in the States. It will be fun to feel the energy and vibe of a great university and meet new people.”

Murphy has played four years on the Rosmini Premier team during a period of unprecedented success at the college.

He began the 2020 season in good form as Rosmini were attempting to contest a fourth consecutive Secondary Schools National Grand Final. The 198cm swingman scored 39 points against Rangitoto College and was averaging 26 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists per game over the first five games before COVID-19 restrictions brought a premature end to the Auckland Premier Basketball season.

Murphy had played in the previous three finals, collecting a winners medal in 2017 and 2018.

“Sean has been an integral part of our success at Rosmini over the past four years rising up from the Juniors into playing a pivotal role for our Senior Premiers over recent seasons. 

“His opportunity in the States is a reward for the tremendous amount of work and dedication he has put into his own game,” said Rosmini Coach Matt Lacey.

Those successes certainly rank highly when Murphy assesses his career highlights to date.

“I have been blessed to be a part of a great basketball programme at Rosmini College. Great coaches and amazing teammates over the years so I would probably say winning two High School National Championships made me very proud and very happy, plus the opportunity to play for my country and making the Junior Tall Blacks.”

Murphy admits there have been countless good moments when he recalls his playing career at Rosmini.

“There are many and I will so miss it.  Apart from the winning of Nationals and Junior Prems  our  trip to Greece for the World High School Championships last year was also memorable.” 

As mentioned Murphy was named to the 2020 Junior Tall Blacks who were scheduled to play at a Four Nations International Tournament in China and the Albert Schweitzer International Tournament in Germany but unfortunately both events were cancelled.

When announcing the team Junior Tall Blacks Head Coach Aaron Fearne described Murphy as a wing with great international size.

“He’s very good at stretching the floor and knocking down the three ball. He understands our system well and can guard multiple positions,” added Fearne.

Having played for New Zealand at the 2019 FIBA Oceania Championships in New Caledonia in 2019 averaging 10 points and 3 rebounds per game Murphy would relish the opportunity wear the black singlet again in the future – hopefully one day for the Tall Blacks.

“That would be another dream come true, so I will never give up on that ambition and will continue to work harder to make it!”

Murphy is grateful to all who have contributed to his basketball journey and had a major impact on him as a player and a person.

“There have been many people that have helped me so much from the time I started to play basketball just over 10 years ago now.  Like I said I am blessed to have had great coaching over the years from day one.  But the most influential I would probably say would be my parents (Tracy and Rob), they have always believed in me, lifted me up when I have been down, told me how it is when I have had bad games and supported me whole heartly in my basketball journey.  

The other person who believed in me the most is my mentor the late Fata Letoa, whom I hold the upmost respect for. 

“Finally I just want to say thanks to BBNZ, Rosmini College, North Harbour Basketball, my team-mates over the years and all the people that have supported my journey to help me achieve where I am today.  

“Also a big shout out and thanks to Chris at Lead Scholarship’s NZ who put my profile forward to the coaches at UNK.  I appreciate it all.” 

Murphy believes the best advice ever given to him is, “Never ever give up even when everything appears down on you, believe in yourself and keep going, plus ‘work harder’.  

“I think those two things you need to live your life by always, that way you will succeed. Stay focused on your own journey. 

That journey will commence at the beginning of the Fall Semester in August 2021 when Murphy will head to UNK.

Murphy is the sixth Rosmini College student to secure a basketball scholarship in the States in the last three years.

William Heather was a member of the 2017 national championship winning team and subsequently was offered a scholarship at Dallas Baptist University to play NCAA Division II basketball.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt was a national championship winner in both 2017 and 2018 and is in his second year at South Dakota University is majoring in psychology.

Recently departed to the Sates are freshmen Marvin Williams-Dunn and Reihana Maxwell-Topia. 

Reihana is at the University of St Francis in Chicago whilst Marvin has travelled to Arkadelphia, Arkansas to begin study at Ouachita Baptist University. 

Last week Taine Murray committed to the University of Virginia and like Sean will head to the States in 2021.

Maxwell-Topia Lands in Chicago

REIHANAReihana Maxwell-Topia has this week headed to the USA on a 4-year basketball scholarship.

Reihana will be a student athlete at the University of St Francis, Illinois. He was recruited by Head Coach Ryan Marks now in his eighth season at the helm of the Fighting Saints.

Coach Marks boasts a 114-76 record during his previous seven seasons, the Fighting Saints twice being Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season champions in addition to being Tournament Champions (2018—19) under his watch.

Reihana played on the Rosmini Premier team for four consecutive years and was an integral part of the team that won back to back New Zealand Secondary Schools National Championships in 2017 and 2018. Rosmini were runners-up in 2019 with the rangy power forward scoring 15 points in the Grand Final and also named to the Tournament Team.

He is a multiple representative championship winner having also won an U15 National Title representing Hibiscus Coast and in 2019 the U19 National Title with North Harbour.

2019 was a busy year for Reihana – in April he played a pivotal role in helping Rosmini finish a highly creditable sixth at the ISF Basketball World Schools Championship in Greece.

In July he was a member of the Harbour U19 team that travelled to the USA to participate in tournaments in Phoenix and Dallas and capped off his globe-trotting year representing New Zealand at the FIBA U17 Oceania Championships in New Caledonia where the team claimed a silver medal.

He is the fourth Rosminian currently on a basketball scholarship in the States. Marvin Williams-Dunn is a fellow freshman at Ouachita Baptist University, Arkansas whilst William Heather (Dallas Baptist University) and Kruz Perrott-Hunt (University of South Dakota) are both sophomores.

All at Rosmini College and the wider New Zealand basketball community wish Reihana well on the next stage of his journey.

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.

“Always.”

“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.

Aimee Book last Kiwi woman eliminated from Div I Tournament play-offs.

Aimiee

Now there are none.

Aimee Book was the last remaining Kiwi women left in NCAA Division I Conference Tournament play but that involvement finished today.

Despite 14 points (6/13FG) from the Nelson native California State Fullerton Titans were beaten 72-59 by University of Hawaii in a Big West Conference quarter-final tie. The sophomore wing also chimed in with 6 rebounds and assist, playing the whole 40 minutes.

Book has scored in double figures in 17 of the 28 games she has played this season and started in all but one of those appearances.

Roll of Honour

Katelin Noyer (Fresno State University)

Mountain West Conference Regular Season Champions and MWC Tournament runners-up.

Pareunora Pene (University of Tennessee Chattanooga)

Southern Conference Regular Season Champions.

Chattanooga invited to Post Season WNIT

Akiene-Tera Reed (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Atlantic 10 Regular Season Runners-up and Tournament Championship Runners-up.

Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team

Zara Jillings (Fordham University Rams)

Atlantic 10 All-Academic Team

Kendell Heremaia (Fordham University Rams)

Atlantic 10 All-Conference Third Team

Le’afa and Cameron progress in Tournament play.

1920_Izayah_at_weber

Four Kiwi Men played today in NCAA Division I Tournament games resulting in two wins and two losses. Former Tall Black guard Izayah Mauriahooho-Le’afa and Sacramento State remained alive at the end of the day as do Flynn Cameron and DePaul Blue Demons.

Results March 11th

Izayah Mauriahooho-Le’afa (Sacramento State University Hornets)

The Sacramento State Hornets are still buzzing after advancing to the Big Sky Tournament quarter-finals following a 62-54 victory against Weber State.

Izayah Mauriahooho-Le’afa posted his second career double-double with a career high 10 rebounds to accompany 13 points. They will meet top seed Eastern Washington in the quarters tomorrow.

Flynn Cameron (DePaul University Blue Demons)

#10 De Paul defeated #7 Xavier 71-67 in the Big East Tournament first round at Madison Square Garden in New York. It will be even tougher for the Blue Demons tomorrow facing second ranked Villanova in the quarter-finals.

Sam Waardenburg (University of Miami Hurricanes)

Miami have bowed out in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament falling 69-64 to Clemson. Sam Waardenburg took his career rebounding tally past 250 with a team high 8 rebounds and also had 3 steals and a block in 32 minutes of action.

Sam Timmins (University of Washington Huskies)

A disappointing season concluded for Washington Huskies as they fell 77-70 to Arizona in the First Round of the Pac 12 Tournament. In his final game for Washington Sam Timmins was afforded just 6 minutes of court time. In his four years with the Huskies the former Otago Boys centre tallied 128 appearances

Upcoming Games:

At a glance – see who is playing where and when as Men’s NCAA Division I Conference Tournaments continue this week.

NB All games are US time therefore a day behind NZ –  ie games scheduled for March 11 in the States are played March 12 in NZ.

March 12th

Anzac Rissetto (University of North Carolina at Charlotte 49ers)

Charlotte 49ers play quarter-final game at Conference USA Tournament.

Max de Geest (Long Beach State University)

Long Beach State face UC Irvine in a Big West Conference quarter-final.

Flynn Cameron (DePaul University Blue Demons)

De Paul face second ranked Villanova in the quarter-finals of the Big East Tournament.

Izayah Mauriahooho-Le’afa (Sacramento State University)

Sacramento State will meet top seed Eastern Washington in the Big Sky Tournament quarter-finals.

Matt Freeman (UC Santa Barbara)

UC Santa Barbara will take on University of California, Riverside in Big West Conference play .

Callum McRae & Angus McWilliam (University of California, Riverside)

The third Big West Conference team with Kiwi interest are UC Riverside (7-9) and they face UC Santa Barbara in the BWC quarters.

March 13

Tobias Cameron (Abilene Christian University)

Second seed Abilene Christian will take on an unconfirmed opponent in the Southland Conference Tournament semi-final.

Roll of Honour

Yanni Wetzell (San Diego State University)

Mountain West Conference Regular Season Champions

Mountain West Tournament Runners-up

Mountain West All-Conference Third Team

Callum McRae (University of California, Riverside)

Honourable Mention All-Big West Conference

Amiee Book double-double helps Titans advance behind closed doors

 

Book

The remaining two Kiwi women left in NCAA Division I Conference Tournament play were in action today but only one survived.

Amiee Book contributed a double-double as California State Fullerton eased through their First Round Big West Conference tie. There wasn’t such good news for Tsubasa Nisbett with Georgia Southern Eagles eliminated.

Results March 10th

Tsubasa Nisbett (Georgia Southern University Eagles)

No 4 ranked Louisiana proved too strong for Georgia Southern winning their Sun Belt Conference First Round encounter 81-64. Tsubasa Nisbett secured a couple of rebounds for the Eagles.

 Amiee Book (California State University Fullerton Titans)

In a First Round Big West Conference Tournament match up Fullerton defeated California State University Northridge 67-52 with Amiee Book in double-double territory for the second game running. The sophomore standout had 12 points and 10 rebounds and also came up with 3 steals.

The game was played behind closed doors after the Big West Conference organisers announced games would be played without spectators present to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Fullerton meet Hawaii tomorrow in a quarter-final tie.

Roll of Honour

Katelin Noyer (Fresno State University)

Mountain West Conference Regular Season Champions and MWC Tournament runners-up.

Pareunora Pene (University of Tennessee Chattanooga)

Southern Conference Regular Season Champions.

Chattanooga invited to Post Season WNIT

Akiene-Tera Reed (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Atlantic 10 Regular Season Runners-up and Tournament Championship Runners-up.

Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team

Zara Jillings (Fordham University Rams)

Atlantic 10 All-Academic Team

 Kendell Heremaia (Fordham University Rams)

Atlantic 10 All-Conference Third Team

Fotu and St Mary’s beaten in Conference Final

Fotu copy

In the only Men’s NCAA Division I game being played today involving a Kiwi, Dan Fotu and St Mary’s Gaels played Gonzaga (ranked #2 nationally) in the West Coast Conference Championship game.

St Mary’s were defending champions having beaten Gonzaga in the 2019 Final but struggled in this one going down 84-66.

Dan Fotu finished with 5 points and 2 rebounds.

St Mary’s now have to wait until Selection Sunday (March 15) to see if they receive one of 36 at-large invitations to the NCAA Tournament.

Upcoming Games:

At a glance – see who is playing where and when as the Men’s NCAA Division I Conference Tournaments continue this week.

NB All games are US time therefore a day behind NZ –  ie games scheduled for March 11 in the States are played March 12 in NZ.

March 11th

Sam Waardenburg (University of Miami)

Miami head to the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament to take on Clemson.

Sam Timmins (University of Washington)

Washington Huskies play in the First Round of the Pac 12 Tournament.

Flynn Cameron (DePaul University)

De Paul face Marquette or Xavier in the Big East Tournament first round.

Izayah Mauriahooho-Le’afa (Sacramento State University)

Sacramento State take on Weber State in the Big Sky Conference play-offs first round.

March 12th

Anzac Rissetto (University of North Carolina at Charlotte 49ers)

Charlotte 49ers play quarter-final game at Conference USA Tournament.

Max de Geest (Long Beach State University)

Long Beach State face UC Irvine in a Big West Conference quarter-final.

Matt Freeman (UC Santa Barbara)

UC Santa Barbara will take on University of California, Riverside in  Big West Conference play .

Callum McRae & Angus McWilliam (University of California, Riverside)

The third Big West Conference team with Kiwi interest are UC Riverside (7-9) and they face UC Santa Barbara in the BWC quarters.

March 13

Tobias Cameron (Abilene Christian University)

Second seed Abilene Christian will take on an unconfirmed opponent in the Southland Conference Tournament semi-final.

Roll of Honour

Yanni Wetzell (San Diego State University)

Mountain West Conference Regular Season Champions

Mountain West Tournament Runners-up

Mountain West All-Conference Third Team

Callum McRae (University of California, Riverside)

Honourable Mention All-Big West Conference

Fotu and St Mary’s into Conference Final

Fotu

It is good news from Las Vegas.

In the only Men’s NCAA Division I game being played today involving a Kiwi, Dan Fotu and St Mary’s Gaels won an extremely tight West Coast Conference semi-final 51-50.

Fotu, on the receiving end of a couple of questionable offensive foul calls, lasted just 23 minutes before exiting with a fifth foul. The former Rangitoto College forward contributed 10 points (5/6FG), a steal and a couple of rebounds in that time.

Having beaten Pepperdine in double overtime 48 hours earlier the Gaels had their fans on the edge of their seats again having to come from 11 points down in the second half.

Tomorrow they face top seed Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference Championship Game – Gonzaga having won both games in the regular season .

At a glance – see who is playing where and when as the Men’s NCAA Division I Conference Tournaments continue this week.

NB All games are US time therefore a day behind NZ –  ie games scheduled for March 10 in the States are played March 11 in NZ.

March 10th

Dan Fotu (St Mary’s College, California)

St Mary’s face Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference Championship Game.

March 11th

Sam Waardenburg (University of Miami)

Miami head to the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament to take on Clemson.

Sam Timmins (University of Washington)

Washington Huskies play in the First Round of the Pac 12 Tournament.

Flynn Cameron (DePaul University)

De Paul face Marquette or Xavier in the Big East Tournament first round.

Izayah Mauriahooho-Le’afa (Sacramento State University)

Sacramento State take on Weber State in the Big Sky Conference play-offs first round.

March 12th

Anzac Rissetto (University of North Carolina at Charlotte 49ers)

Charlotte 49ers play quarter-final game at Conference USA Tournament.

Max de Geest (Long Beach State University)

Long Beach State face UC Irvine in a Big West Conference quarter-final.

Matt Freeman (UC Santa Barbara)

UC Santa Barbara will take on University of California, Riverside in  Big West Conference play .

Callum McRae & Angus McWilliam (University of California, Riverside)

The third Big West Conference team with Kiwi interest are UC Riverside (7-9) and they face UC Santa Barbara in the BWC quarters.

March 13Tobias Cameron (Abilene Christian University)

Second seed Abilene Christian will take on an unconfirmed opponent in the Southland Conference Tournament semi-final.

 

Roll of Honour

Yanni Wetzell (San Diego State University)

Mountain West Conference Regular Season Champions

Mountain West Tournament Runners-up

Mountain West All-Conference Third Team

Callum McRae (University of California, Riverside)

Honourable Mention All-Big West ConferenceFotu and St Mary’s

Tegan Graham’s efforts in vain as Colgate are beaten

Tegan Graham copy

Two Kiwi women in NCAA Division 1 play today and both suffered defeats.

Results March 9th

 Tegan Graham (Colgate University)

A team high 17 points (7/13FG) from senior guard Tegan Graham wasn’t enough to prevent number three seeded Colgate being defeated by #6 Lehigh in the Patriot League quarter-finals. The former Wellington College standout also added a game high 4 steals and a couple of rebounds in what is likely to be her final game for the Raiders. Graham scored in double figures in seven of her last eight games and finishes with 700 points in 108 appearances for Colgate.

Joellen How (Wagner College)

No 8 seed Wagner College Seahawks pushed top-seed Robert Norris University all the way in a Northeast Conference Quarter-Final but were eventually pipped 65-61 in overtime.

Only two Kiwi women are left in Conference Tournament play with both Tsubasa Nisbett and Amiee Book in action on Wednesday (NZ Time)

March 10th

Tsubasa Nisbett (Georgia Southern University)

Georgia Southern open Sun Belt Conference Tournament play.

 Amiee Book (California State University Fullerton)

Cal State Fullerton head to the Big West Conference Tournament for a first round match up.

 

Roll of Honour

Katelin Noyer (Fresno State University)

Mountain West Conference Regular Season Champions and MWC Tournament runners-up.

 Pareunora Pene (University of Tennessee Chattanooga)

Southern Conference Regular Season Champions.

Chattanooga invited to Post Season WNIT

Akiene-Tera Reed (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Atlantic 10 Regular Season Runners-up and Tournament Championship Runners-up.

Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team

Zara Jillings (Fordham University Rams)

Atlantic 10 All-Academic Team

 Kendell Heremaia (Fordham University Rams)

Atlantic 10 All-Conference Third Team