Category Archives: Kiwi’s Abroad

Mixed week for Tall Ferns overseas





Jillian Harmon was the best individual performer amongst the overseas base Tall Ferns last weekend but it didn’t help secure a win.

In contrast Kalani Purcell and the Melbourne Boomers had a very satisfactory weekend recording two victories.

Purcell made 9 points plus 4 rebounds and an assist as Melbourne thumped Bendigo Spirit 90-63 on Friday.

It was equally comfortable on Sunday as Melbourne, coached by Tall Ferns assistant Guy Molloy cruised past Canberra Capitals 92-63 to improve to 3-1 for the season. A quiet 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists for Purcell in this one.

Two games played and two wins registered for Townsville Fire after a 76-63 win against Canberra up in Queensland on Friday. Micaela Cocks scored 5 points to accompany 4 rebounds and a solitary assist.

Toni Farnworth is still recovering from a fractured wrist and missed the Perth Lynx double-header road trip. The Lynx lost both fixtures going down to Adelaide Lightning and Bendigo Spirit to slip to 0-3 after the first two rounds of the season – looks as if they need the Tall Ferns guard back as soon as possible.

Despite a game high 19 points Jillian Harmon will have been bitterly disappointed by Napoli’s 79-70 home loss to Le Mura Lucca in the Italian League.

Lucca is the team Harmon helped to the Italian Championship last season but they proved too strong for Napoli who are now 1-2 after a second straight loss.


Double delight for the Webster’s

corey webster

There were wins for both Webster brothers in Europe at the weekend plus Euro Cup success for Isaac Fotu.

Frankfurt Skyliners have made an encouraging start in the German League. Its latest success, a 78-71 victory against Braunschweig, has given the Skyliners a 3-1 start to the season.

Kiwi guard Tai Webster is travelling well for the Skyliners averaging 12 points and 5.5 assists per game. In an impressive display against Braunschweig Webster scored 16 points and added 3 rebounds, 5 assists and a pair of steals.

It was also a good weekend In Israel for brother Corey who dished a game high 7 assists as Ironi Nahariya defeated Hapoel, Tel Aviv 102-87.

Webster senior also landed three from six triples on his way to 15 points as Nahariya moved to 1-1 after a loss in the opening round of the season.

Interestingly the shooting guard’s bio on the Nahariya website describes the 28-year old as a first year pro ignoring the fact that he played eight seasons for the Breakers.

Isaac Fotu and his new German club Ratiopharm Ulm are still awaiting a first League win after going down 92-87 at Jenna. Fotu provided 10 points (5/8FG), 7 rebounds and 3 assists but it wasn’t enough to get Ulm the win as they slip to 0-4.

Better news came in the EuroCup midweek fixture as Ulm proved too good for Turkish side Tofas Bursa beating its Group D opponents 83-73 with a dominant 28-11 final quarter showing.

Fotu contributed 5 rebounds and 10 points in the home win.

Mixed news for Tall Ferns overseas last weekend


The Australian WNBL began at the weekend with Micaela Cocks and her Townsville Fire team getting one over on Melbourne Boomers with Kalani Purcell in their lineup.

The Fire won 63-54 with Cocks contributing a solid 8 points that included a brace of threes, 2 rebounds, an assist and a steal.

Purcell had 4 points and 4 rebounds for the Boomers.

It wasn’t all bad news for Purcell as in the opening game of the weekend, on debut, she contributed in her usual manner attempting to fill every stats category – 6 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and a block – Melbourne beating Dandenong Rangers 76-61.

Chevannah Paalvast was also making her debut, the Tall Fern guard playing five minutes for Canberra Capitals as it beat Bendigo Spirit 93-80. Long enough for Paalvast to get on the scoreboard with a couple of points.

Toni Farnworth was unable to suit up for Perth Lynx as she sustained a fractured wrist in a pre season game the previous weekend. The Lynx missed the influential Kiwi guard going down 93-80 at home to last season’s champions Sydney University Flames.

In Italy Jillian Harmon scored 9 points and added 6 rebounds and 3 assists in 38 minutes of action but Napoli went down 51-48 at home to Venezia in its second game of the season. In a defence dominated encounter Napoli managed just 8 points in the fourth quarter.

Webster, Fotu and Harmon debut as European season begins

Tai Webster

A number of the European Basketball Leagues began at the weekend and two of them the German Bundesliga and the Italian League featured Kiwi internationals debuting for their respective clubs.

It was mixed news from Germany for Tai Webster and Isaac Fotu.

Webster was making his debut in the colours of Frankfurt Skyliners and his 15 points contributed to a solid 82-70 away win at Jena for the Skyliners.

Webster committed a nervy 5 turnovers, understandable in his first professional game,  but more than made up for those errors as he added 4 rebounds, a couple of steals and a game high 7 assists to his points haul in 30 minutes of impressive action.

It wasn’t such good news for Fotu who, after three seasons playing in Spain, was making his debut in Germany for Ratiopharm Ulm. A costly third period lost 25-14 by Ulm, in front of a sold out home crowd, was a major contributor to a 68-72 defeat.

Fotu, like Webster, was inserted into the starting five and played 26 minutes – the Tall Blacks forward scored 6 points (3/6FG) and notched 4 rebounds.

Jillian Harmon is entering her eighth season playing in the highly regarded Italian League.

The Tall Ferns forward has transferred from defending champions Le Mura Lucca to join Napoli and marked her debut for her new club with a fine double double of 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Harmon also added 6 assists as Napoli won 64-58 at San Martino to get Napoli’s season off to a winning start.

Corey Webster has another week to wait before he makes his debut for Ironi Nahariya with the Israeli League commencing October 8th.

Mike Karena Remains in Spain


Canterbury Rams centre Mike Karena has become the third New Zealand player to join a new club in Europe for the 2017-18 season.

Karena has signed on with Actel Forca Lleida in the Spanish LEB Gold Division. This is a step up for Karena who last season averaged 14 points and 6 rebounds per game for ISB Sammic in the LEB Silver Division.

The LEB Gold Division is the Spanish second tier competition nestling under Liga Endesa the competition Isaac Fotu played in for the past three seasons. Liga Endesa is widely regarded as the strongest club competition outside the NBA.

Fotu has of course moved to Germany and signed for Ratiopharm Ulm and Corey Webster, after initially signing for Perth Wildcats, has joined Israeli club Ironi Nahariya.

It is anticipated that Tai Webster, recently graduated from the University of Nebraska, will become the fourth Tall Black to play in Europe during the upcoming season.

Jillian Harmon moves to Napoli


Jillian Harmon is returning to Europe for her eighth season playing in the highly regarded Italian League.

However the 30-year-old Tall Ferns forward is not returning to defending champions Le Mura Lucca instead opting to join Napoli.

Harmon was the third best scorer in the Italian League last season averaging 17.2 points per game. She also corralled 6.7 rebounds per game for Lucca but like a number of the championship winning squad she has decided to move on.

Napoli finished in sixth place in the League last season but with the acquisition of Harmon and Cameroon international Monique Ngo Ndjock will be expecting to make a top four showing in the 2017-18 campaign.

Other than the 2014-15 season Harmon has spent all of her professional career playing in Italy since graduating from Stanford University in 2009.

She won a WNBL championship in that 2014-15 season playing for Townsville Fire alongside Tall Fern teammate Micaela Cocks. She made it a championship double by guiding Otago Goldrush to the WBC title later in 2015.

Harmon debuted for the Tall Ferns in 2008 and appeared at the Beijing Olympics in the same year. She was recently involved in the Tall Ferns FIBA Asia Cup campaign in India where she finished the tournament in fourth spot for scoring (averaging 14.0ppg) and second in rebounding (9.3rpg).

Harmon video clip

Penina Davidson retuning to NSEC on Sunday


Penina Davidson is relishing the opportunity to play in front of family and friends for the first time since 2013.

“To get to come back now as a senior and play in my hometown for the first time since high school is pretty cool,” said the former Rangitoto College standout.

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Oklahoma Sooners v NZ Premiers to be streamed live




Good news for basketball fans not in Auckland or those unable to get tickets for the Oklahoma versus NZ Premiers game on Sunday is that the game will be live streamed.

There is plenty of interest in the game with former Westlake Boys High standout Matt Freeman stepping on court in NZ for the first time since embarking on his college career last year.

The game tips off at 3pm at Auckland Grammar School on Sunday (August 6th). The Premiers team will feature a number of Kiwis currently based at American Colleges including Joe Cook-Green, Denhym Brooke and Dominique Kelman-Poto.

Live streaming information here

Asia Cup wrap and what now for Tall Ferns

tall fernstall ferns

Here is the wrap on the Asia Cup as the Tall Ferns disperse and head for three different continents – just where you can read here.

There were also some impressive individual performances at the Cup – check out which Tall Fern topped the rebounding count.



Wynyard fires Junior Tall Blacks to World Cup win


Photos courtesy of Jolene Cartwright

A win is a win, especially when it is your opening game at the FIBA U19 World Cup, so the Anchor Junior Tall Blacks coaching staff are understandably taking the positives from their first up 88-81 victory over world number 15 ranked South Korea in Cairo overnight New Zealand time.

A final quarter flourish led by Quinn Clinton and Tai Wynyard got the young New Zealand side home over the higher ranked Koreans in Pool A, but excessive turnovers and a poor return from the charity stripe looked to have stymied their chances through the first three quarters.


Head Coach Daryl Cartwright was delighted with the response of his side as they turned on the pressure in the final five minutes to overcome a 9-point deficit to eventually win comfortably.

“Parts of the game weren’t up to how we want to play, guys went away from the game plan and didn’t execute but Korea are ranked 15th in the world and we came in 30th. I think a lot of people dismiss them because of who they are rather than looking at the ranking and records, they are a very good team and have played a lot more international competition than us so they were never going to give us the game and made us scrap and fight the whole way, but we found some composure down the stretch and played to our strengths.”

Cartwright did not shy away from those areas of concern, with free throw shooting (17/33) and turnovers (28) the key areas to look at.


“We haven’t shot the ball well from the charity stripe on tour, it is one of those things you don’t want to keep harping on about but it has been a focus in training. It was an ugly number percentage wise and we have left a lot of points on the floor, but the main thing was we made the shots when it counted and put the game out of reach of Korea.

“Turnovers were unacceptable, especially in the third quarter where they put some pressure on us and we didn’t respond. They were getting away with a lot of contact, but we need to play to how the referees are officiating the game and do a better job of looking after the ball.”

Cartwright highlighted Isaac Letoa and the Tai Wynard post game, with Wynyard having to sit for most of the first half after picking up two quick fouls.

“Isaac had a great game, he started strong and was key down the stretch. Tai got in early foul trouble and with two quick ones we couldn’t risk him picking up a third in the first half. For the most part we were controlling the temp while he was on the bench, but Korea made a little run and we managed the rotation to get Tai out of that potential third foul situation and allowed him to play aggressive and strong in the second half. He dominated inside and made his presence felt with some key buckets.”

Cartwright and his coaching staff are under no illusions as to the enormity of the task, but welcomes the chance to take on the best in the world.

“In a World Cup, to get the first win in the pool gives you some momentum. We have a tough pool, I mentioned Korea at 15, tomorrow we play France ranked 9 and then Argentina ranked 7. Both are big teams, have an average age of 19 and many of them play in professional competitions. Both will be a big test of our guys but one they have to enjoy the challenge of taking on that talent and experience.”

Anchor Junior Tall Blacks 88
Wynyard 22/6r, Letoa 14/5a, Clinton 12/6r, Sam Waardenburg 8/5a, Josh Aitcheson 8, T Samuel 8, C McRae 4, T Cameron 4, A McWilliam 4/5r, H McDonald 2, F Cameron 2/5r

South Korea 81
Han 20, Kim 14