Category Archives: Tall Blacks

Taine Murray named to Tall Blacks

Taine

Instead of fronting up for form period on Monday morning at Rosmini College, Taine Murray will be boarding a plane at Auckland airport bound for Japan.

Still only a year 12 student Murray is the bolter in Paul Henare’s 14 man pr-World Cup squad announced on Sunday.

“Taine has impressed us all these past few days and quite simply played his way into the 14,” said Henare. “He has a composure beyond his years and is going to develop into a very good player, but already at 17 has shown that he feels at home at this level.”

Murray was a little lost for words when he heard his name read out by Henare in the team meeting this morning.

“Hearing my name called was extremely humbling and I am so grateful for the opportunity that lays before me. It has been amazing learning from some of the finest players and coaches that New Zealand has to offer during the course of the camp, and I am just so excited for the next few weeks.”

The MBO (may-bo) Tall Blacks team to tour Japan and continue preparation for the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup has been named, with Head Coach Paul Henare inking in 14 players from the selection camp in Auckland.

The 14 will travel to take part in a 9-day camp in Japan, including two games against their hosts, before then heading to Sydney to take on Canada. It is following those two games on August 20 and 21 that the final 12 for the World Cup will be named.

The team is led by veterans in the likes of Tom Abercrombie playing his third World Cup, while Jarrod Kenny, Corey Webster, Tai Webster, Alex Pledger, Rob Loe and Isaac Fotu are all attending their second World Cup tournament.

Finn Delany, Shea Ili, Jordan Ngatai, Tohi Smith-Milner and Ethan Rusbatch have featured heavily for the Tall Blacks and New Zealand Select over the past four years as the programme under Henare went about building depth across all positions.

Henare is delighted with the balance and depth in the roster.

“We have chosen a combination of players that complement each other on and off the floor. They understand what we stand for and what we are looking to achieve in China and will do anything for each other.

“A number of our decisions were very tough, with our final selection meeting going long into the night last night. That is testament to that depth we are developing, that a number of players will rightly feel unlucky not to have made the 14 today, but their time will come in the black singlet.

“We believe we have a balanced group of players, a group that is young in age but long in experience and understands the pressure we will face in the weeks ahead and the opportunity that is in front of them. Our focus is now solely on being ready to face Brazil on September 1st, we have a lot of work to do but can’t wait.”

The younger generation are led in the 14 by the likes of Tom Vodanovich on the back of a strong Sal’s NBL campaign and in particular by Rosmini schoolboy Taine Murray, clearly the bolter in the roster at this point after impressing Henare during the camp in Auckland, and while playing for his college team.

Murray is just one of many youngsters to have featured this weekend, with Henare keen to highlight the six unlucky players who average just 20 years of age.

“While the focus today is on the 14 who will move on to Japan and Australia, as a coaching and management team we have been hugely impressed by the entire group. The future of the game is in great hands with the likes of Kruz (18 years), Sam (22), Max (18), Tyrell (20), Hyrum (23) and Taylor (23) waiting in the wings, they are all tremendously talented players and impressive young men who all have great careers ahead of them, I can’t wait to see them back in the black singlet in the near future.”

Tom Abercrombie is one of the ‘young’ veterans in the team at 32 and attending his third World Cup, he will be amongst the leaders in the team and is excited for what the next five weeks holds.

“Being in the Tall Blacks environment is always energizing, I love being a part of this team and there is an added edge for a World Cup campaign, we have seen and felt that already these past few days. Of course, we will miss Mika and Reuben, that has been well documented this week, but today is about the players named and I am excited to be a part of a team that can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and in typical Tall Blacks fashion take on the world and look to upset the odds along the way.”

MBO Tall Blacks 14 to travel to Japan and Australia

Guards: Shea Ili, Wellington Saints/Melbourne United; Jarrod Kenny, Bay Hawk’s/Cairns Taipans; Tai Webster, Galatasaray; Corey Webster, NZ Breakers; Taine Murray, Rosmini College; Ethan Rusbatch, Bay Hawks;

Small Forwards: Tom Abercrombie, Wellington Saints/NZ Breakers; Jordan Ngatai, Wellington Saints/NZ Breakers; Tom Vodanovich, Southland Sharks/NZ Breakers;

Power Forwards: Isaac Fotu, Universo Treviso; Finn Delany, Nelson Giants/NZ Breakers;

Centres: Alex Pledger, Southland Sharks/Melbourne United; Rob Loe, Wellington Saints/NZ Breakers; Tohi Smith-Milner, Melbourne United;

Head Coach: Paul Henare
Assistant Coach: Pero Cameron
Assistant Coach: Ross McMains
Physiotherapist: Anousith Bouaaphone
Massage Therapist: Shelley Moana-Hiha
Doctor: Hamish Osborne
Manager: Andrew Dewhurst

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News on Kiwis playing in Europe

Jillian Harman posted an impressive 20 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals as Ragusa rounded out the Italian League regular season with a 96-78 victory against Torino. The Tall Ferns forward has been a standout for Ragusa averaging 15.7 points and 8.4 rebounds across 20 games.

Ragusa finished third on the Serie A ladder with a 16-4 record ahead of the play-offs.

2018 Tall Fern Jacinta Beckley is averaging 8.1 points and 2.6 rebounds in her first professional season playing for Ujbuda in the Hungarian League. Ujbuda have struggled this season winning just four of twenty-one games and sitting 11thof 12 teams on the Hungarian League ladder.

Beckley will link up with former Tall Ferns coach Kennedy Kereama at Sunbury Jets in Melbourne when the Hungarian League concludes. The Jets will be looking to defend their Big V League title.

Galatasaray are up to fifth in the Turkish League after defeating Besiktas 93-87. Tai Webster scored 18 points (3/4 3PG) and added 7 rebounds, 4 assists and a couple of steals. Galatasaray have a 12-8 record with seven rounds left in the regular season and a top eight play-off spot appearing likely. Webster is averaging 11.6 points and 4 assists in Turkish League games.

In Germany Isaac Fotu is back on court for Ratiopharm Ulm after a two month injury lay-off. The Tall Blacks forward played just 4 minutes, scoring 3 points, as Ulm beat Crailsheim 99-87. They sit seventh on the German League standings with a 12-11 record – a cluster of four teams are at 12-12 in a congested race for the play-offs.

Max Darling has scored 21 and 17 in consecutive games for Osijek in the Croatian League. In the last outing he added 10 rebounds to his 21 points (6/7FG) for his first double-double of the season. Osijek sit equal 5thon the Croatian Premier League table with a 9-9 record.

Tony Tolovae is enjoying a good season in Norway ahead of his return to the Canterbury Rams. Playing for Gimle BBK Bergen he is averaging 16.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3 assists per game. Gimle overcame Baerum 78-64 in the semi-final opener with Tolovae making 7 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists.

Maxim Stevens contributed 7 points and 4 rebounds for Kronberg in its 90-76 win against Stuttgart in the German Regional South-West League. The NZ Under 18 representative is averaging 6.3 points and 4.6 rebounds for Kronberg.

Season high from Izayah Le’afa

Le'afa

A season best from Izayah Le’afa highlights the latest news about Kiwi men playing NCAA Division I hoops.

Le’afa scored a season high 18 points (5/11 3PG), that included three triples in three minutes, as Sacramento State Hornets secured an 84-73 home win against Southern Utah – the Hornets now 5-9 in the Big Sky Conference after starting 0-4. Six assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals completed the Wellingtonian point guard’s fine all court game.

Yanni Wetzel recorded his first double-double in Vanderbilt University colours but it wasn’t enough to get the Commodores the win. The Vanderbilt forward scored 10 points (4/5FG) and also garnered 10 rebounds but unfortunately it is now 12 straight losses in the Southeastern Conference for Vandy after going down 64-53 against Auburn.

Sam Waardenburg hit double figures for the sixth time this season and the third time in the last seven games but Miami University Hurricanes fell 64-57 at Boston College. Waardenburg’s 10 points came without missing a shot (2/2 3PG, 1/1 2PG, 2/2FT). The former Rangitoto small forward also corralled 5 rebounds and came up with a steal and a block – the Hurricanes 3-10 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Callum McRae had his ninth double figure outing of the season, and sixth in the last nine games, in California Riverside’s 87-64 loss at Hawaii. The Manawatu centre scored 13 points on 5 from 8 shooting and also connected with all three attempts from the foul line.

Matt Freeman had half a dozen points as Oklahoma Sooners beat Texas Christian 71-62. The former Westlake forward also added 3 rebounds and a block. It was a welcome win for Oklahoma that improve to 4-9 in the Big 12 Conference after suffering five straight losses.

Six was the common denominator with Jackson Stent slotting half a dozen points (2/5FG, 2/2FT) as Houston Baptist came from behind to defeat Nicholls State 88-82. The Huskies are now 5-7 in the Southland Conference.

Wrap on the women’s performances coming up later in the week.

 

Webster exits EuroCup but Fotu fights on

 

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Tai Webster scored 18 points (6/13FG, 6/7FT) for his Turkish club Galatasaray on Wednesday night but it wasn’t enough to stave off elimination from the EuroCup.

Galatasaray needed a win at Group A leaders AS Monaco but fell 76-71 and with a 3-6 record are eliminated from the EuroCup with one round of games still to play.

Still alive are Isaac Fotu and his German club Ratiopharm Ulm. With a 4-5 record Ulm travel to Italy next week to meet Brescia – the winners of the tie will grab the one remaining place available from Group A to progress to the last sixteen.

In Tuesday night’s game Ulm defeated Morabanc Andorra 88-80 to keep their hopes of progressing from group-play alive. Ulm coach Thorston Leibenath used his players sparingly with nine players logging between 14 minutes and 21 minutes. Fotu played just 14 minutes checking out with 2 points, 2 rebounds an assist and a steal.

In German League action Ulm, after a poor start losing five of their first six games, have won three games on the bounce and are up to ninth on the Bundesliga ladder with a 4-5 record.

In the Turkish League Galatasaray are sixth on the table with a 5-4 record after an 86-76 win against Banvit BK last weekend.

The Fotu’s are firing

Isaac Fotu copy

The Fotu brothers have been in great form of late.

Prior to the FIBA international break Isaac Fotu had enjoyed a couple of standout games for his German club Ratiopharm Ulm.

Isaac scored 15 points on 6 from 9 shooting as Ulm lost a tight encounter with Monaco going down 84-81 in EuroCup action. Ulm (3-5) will have to win both of their two remaining pool games to advance to the next round starting with a home game against Andorra next Tuesday.

The Tall Blacks power forward followed that with a high octane 18 points (8/12FG, 2/2FT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals as Ulm gained a much-needed win in the Bundesliga against Telekom Basket. The win, just the third in the German League for Ulm this season, improved their record to 3-5.

Isaac’s efficient scoring efforts were more than matched by younger brother Dan at the weekend.

The 19 year-old is earning more and more minutes in his freshman season at St Mary’s College California. Dan rewarded coach Randy Bennett for displaying confidence in him by putting together a perfect shooting display as the Gaels stunned California Golden Bears winning 84-71. Fotu’s numbers were highly impressive knocking down 4 from 4 threes, his only two-pointer and both of his free throws – seven shots with zero misses in 21 minutes on court.

Dan Fotu

One win apiece for Fotu and Webster after latest EuroCup encounter

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Tall Blacks Isaac Fotu and Tai Webster locked horns in EuroCup action overnight in Istanbul where Fotu’s Ratiopharm Ulm visited Webster’s Galatasaray.

When the two teams met back in October it was the German club that prevailed in overtime (103-92) but on Wednesday it was the hosts that came out on top winning 77-69 in regulation.

Despite the win it wasn’t a game that will live long in Webster’s memory. The Kiwi point guard entered the contest averaging 13.8 points and 5 assists per game but, restricted by foul trouble, managed just 2 points and 3 assists in this one – fouling out in just under 19 minutes.

Fotu led the Ulm rebounding count with 7 boards and also added 9 points but it wasn’t enough to stave off defeat.

Both clubs have a 3-4 record with three games to play in Group A of the Eurocup. The top 4 teams in each pool progress to the last sixteen and it would appear that both clubs will need to win two of their final three games to be sure of progressing.

With both players missing the Tall Blacks World Cup Qualifiers in Christchurch and Wellington at the end of the month it will likely be February before the two get together again when the New Zealand team travels to Lebanon and Jordan.

Kiwis in Men’s Division I colleges take to the court

 

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Yuat Alok (35) in action for TCU

In a week when news has emerged that Kruz Perrot Hunt (South Dakota) and Anzac Rissetto (North Carolina Charlotte) have committed to Division I colleges next season many of the current crop of Div 1 players have seen action this week. To be more accurate eleven of the sixteen Kiwis playing in top flight of college basketball have hit the pine in the last couple of days.

Starting centre Jack Salt was only required for 19 minutes by Virginia University as the Cavaliers breezed past Towson 73-42. The Tall Blacks big man contributed 3 points, 3 rebounds and a block for the Cavs, ranked 5th in the NCAA Division I pre-season polls.

Ranked (25th) in the preseason for the first time since 2011, the Washington Huskies overcame a sluggish start to beat Western Kentucky 73-55. Another player to have worn the Tall Blacks singlet in recent times, Sam Timmins, came up with 6 rebounds and 4 points for the Huskies.

Placed five spots above Washington are Texas Christian University. Yuat Alok scored 11 points in his first outing for the Horned Frogs as they edged past CSU Bakersfield 66-61. In front of almost 7,000 fans the former Rangitoto College big man also added 6 rebounds and a block in a solid 25 minutes of action.

Point guard Isaac Letoa played 8 minutes for Dartmouth Big Green as they rampaged past Newbury College 114-39. The Tall Blacks guard produced 4 assists in that time as well as a couple of rebounds.

Tobias Cameron scored his first basket in Wildcats colours as Abilene Christian thumped Arlington Baptist 107-54. Cameron also snared 5 rebounds.

Brother Flynn played 7 minutes for De Paul Blue Demons making one of two shots and adding 4 rebounds.

Another debutant scorer was Manawatu big man Callum McRae who ended with 4 points and 6 rebounds in his first outing for University of California Riverside beaten 72-59 by Oregon State.

Also playing their first game were Dan Fotu and Quinn Clinton – both came off the bench in the closing minutes for St Mary’s College California Gaels in the 87-65 win against McNeese State. Both managed to convert their only three-point attempt inside the last two minutes of the game – Clinton’s effort came courtesy of a Fotu assist.

A Cantabrian like Clinton, Jackson Stent also connected from long range as Houston Baptist fell 90-60 to Arizona. Stent finished with one from three triples but fouled out in 16 minutes.

In his third outing of the season for the University of Portland Taki Fahrenson scored his first points for the Pirates in a high scoring 111-103 victory against Multnomah.

Kruz to be a Coyote

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It’s been a good week for Rosmini College combo-guard Kruz Perrott-Hunt.

Perrott-Hunt was named in Paul Henare’s 14-man Tall Blacks squad on Wednesday and today revealed he has become the latest young Kiwi to secure an NCAA Division I University basketball scholarship.

 

Kruz - SD Uni.JPG

The 17 year-old has committed to the University of South Dakota (USD) and will begin his college career with the Coyotes in the 2019-20 season.

It’s been a hectic few days for Perrott-Hunt who squeezed in a whirlwind visit to USD last weekend before beginning his NCEA exams this week.

Full story here

Webster and Fotu suffer EuroCup losses

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Both Ratiopharm Ulm and Galatasaray suffered defeats in the latest batch of Pool A EuroCup games on Wednesday.

Tai Webster filled most columns of the stats sheet as Galatasaray suffered an 86-85 home loss at the hands of top of the table Monaco (3 wins, 1 loss). The Tall Blacks guard scored 15 points (6/12FG) in addition to a game high 8 assists, 2 rebounds, a steal and a block. Galatasaray now have a 2-2 record, sitting third on the ladder.

Isaac Fotu scored 6 points and added a pair of rebounds as Ratiopharm Ulm went down 103-95 at Andorra and now find themselves at the bottom of the six team Pool A with a 1-3 record.

The top four teams from each pool advance to the last sixteen.

Tall Blacks in action in Europe and Australia

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There are five Tall Blacks on the SKYCITY Breakers payroll but where are the other Kiwi national players earning a living?

Find a full review here

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