Twenty New Zealand men are preparing for the upcoming NCAA Division I basketball season. This number is up on last season when 17 Kiwis were on Div I scholarships and 33% more than the 15 that played the 2017/18 season.
Below we take a quick look at the twenty players that include Isaac Letoa, Dan Fotu, Kruz Perrott-Hunt, Sam Timmins and Izayah Mauriahooho-Le’afa who have all played for the Tall Blacks.
Matt Freeman (UC Santa Barbara)
Season 18/19 Games 32, Starts 0, Points 102 (3.3ppg), Rebounds 47 (1.5rpg)
Freeman has transferred from the University of Oklahoma, after playing 84 games for the Sooners, to UC Santa Barbara for his senior season where it is expected he will enjoy greater court time.
Freeman is one of five former Westlake Boys High School players on NCAA Division I scholarships.
Izayah Mauriahooho-Le’afa (Sacramento State University)
Season 18/19 Games 30, Starts 26, Points 265 (8.8ppg), Rebounds 90 (3.0rpg), Assists 78 (2.6apg)
The former St Pat’s, Wellington point guard enters his senior season with 89 games under his belt for the Hornets. Last season he was a finalist for the Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Scored in double figures 11 times and 15+ on 8 occasions.
Played for the Tall Blacks as a 16-year old back in 2013.
Jackson Stent(Houston Baptist University)
Season 18/19 Games 29, Starts 0, Points 313 (3.1ppg), Rebounds 39 (1.3rpg)
After leaving Middleton Grange School Stent spent two years at Casper College. Last season was his first at Houston Baptist University where he played 29 games scoring a career high 12 points against Arlington Baptist.
Sam Timmins (University of Washington)
Season 18/19 Games 36, Starts 7, Points 265 (8.8ppg), Rebounds 78 (2.2rpg)
The former Otago Boys High School centre has made 101 appearances for the Huskies although his minutes last season (10.4mpg) were well down on 2017/18 when he logged 18 minutes per game.
Played as recently as 2017 for the Tall Blacks playing 12 internationals in total.
Yanni Wetzell (San Diego State University)
Season 18/19 Games 32, Starts 10, Points 190 (5.9ppg), Rebounds 122 (3.8rpg)
After playing all 32 games for Vanderbilt University last season Wetzell has transferred to San Diego State for his senior year. Recorded eight double figure scores last year including two 15 point hauls.
Played two years NCAA Division II at St Mary’s University, Texas before his season at Vanderbilt.
Yuat Alok (University of Central Florida)
Season 18/19 Games 10, Starts 0, Points 33 (3.3ppg), Rebounds 25 (2.5rpg)
Alok has had a few moves since his time at Rangitoto College. His latest is a shift to Central Florida after ending his stay at TCU in mid-season earlier this year following a broken hand. Prior to that he had been a highly touted prospect at Chipola Junior College where at one stage he was rated the #3 prospect by JUCORecruiting.com
Isaac Letoa (Dartmouth College)
Season 18/19 Games 10, Starts 0, Points 14 (1.4ppg), Rebounds 9 (0.9rpg)
The only Kiwi male at an Ivy League university Letoa played for the Tall Blacks as recently as 2018. He has received limited opportunities at Dartmouth playing just 26 games in two seasons to date.
Originally from Wellington Letoa was a standout point guard at Westlake Boys High.
Sam Waardenburg (University of Miami)
Season 18/19 Games 32, Starts 11, Points 170 (5.3ppg), Rebounds 113 (3.5rpg), Assists 38 (1.2apg)
The rangy forward has prospered in his first two years with the Hurricanes in the tough ACC Conference playing a total of 53 games averaging 21 minutes per appearance. Played all 32 games last season scoring a career high 14 points in 37 minutes at Penn.
One of three ex Rangitoto College players in Men’s NCAA Division I basketball.
Flynn Cameron (DePaul University)
Season 18/19 Games 28, Starts 0, Points 5.1 (1.8ppg), Rebounds 30 (1.1rpg), Assists 21
Was a member of the Junior Tall Blacks team at the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece.
Played 28 games for the Blue Demons in his freshman year.
Younger brother of Tobias Cameron.
Tobias Cameron (Abilene Christian University)
Season 18/19 Games 23, Starts 0, Points 19 (0.8ppg), Rebounds 18 (0.8rpg)
The older of the Cameron brothers, father Cameron is Kiwi basketball legend Pero Cameron.
Will be looking to gain more court time for the Wildcats in his second season with after averaging just under four minutes per game in 2018/19.
Quinn Clinton (St Mary’s College, California)
Season 18/19 Games 22, Starts 0, Points 21 (1.0ppg)
The former Christchurch Boys High and New Zealand age-group star got little opportunity for the Gaels last season. Hopefully more to come from the sweet shooting guard in 2019/20.
Takiula Fahrensohn (University of Portland)
Season 18/19 Games 15, Starts 0, Points 19 (1.3ppg)
Out of Auckland Grammar School, Portland Assistant Coach Ben Johnson is anticipating a good season from the former Junior Tall Black. “Taki has put on a few pounds and can really shoot the ball.”
Dan Fotu (St Mary’s College, California)
Season 18/19 Games 34, Starts 4, Points 96 (2.8ppg), Rebounds 88 (2.6rpg)
Did well in his first season appearing in all 34 games for the Gaels and made the most starts for a St Mary’s freshman since 2010/11. Scored a season high 16 points against Cal Berkeley.
The former Rangitoto College wing made his Tall Blacks debut in 2018.
Callum McRae (University of California, Riverside)
Season 18/19 Games 32, Starts 17, Points 243 (7.6ppg), Rebounds 154 (4.8rpg)
The former Palmerston North Boys High centre enjoyed an outstanding freshman season for the Highlanders. McRae led the team in rebounds (4.8 per game) and field goal percentage (55.4%).
Scored a career high 20 points and corralled a career best 14 rebounds against CSUN in February – produced four double-double performances during the season.
Angus McWilliam (University of California, Riverside)
Season 18/19 Games 2, Starts 0, Points 0, Rebounds 3 (1.5rpg)
The former Middleton Grange High School and Junior Tall Black forward has transferred from TCU and in accordance with NCAA rules will redshirt the 2019/20 season.
Played for the Junior Tall Blacks at the 2017 FIBA World Cup.
Max de Geest (Long Beach State University)
de Geest spent his final high school years at Christ’s College, Christchurch after movingfrom Waitaki Boys High in Year 11.
He was a Breakers Development Player on 2018/19 and a member of the Junior Tall Blacks team at the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece. In addition played in Buenos Aires at the Youth Olympic Games.
James Moors (Colorado State University)
A Westlake Boys High School standout. Was a member of the Junior Tall Blacks team at the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece and also played in Buenos Aires at the Youth Olympic Games.
Kruz Perrott-Hunt (University of South Dakota)
The former Rosmini College guardwas a Breakers Development Player on 2018/19 and a member of the Junior Tall Blacks team at the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece.
Made his Tall Blacks debut against Jordan in the Asia World Cup Qualifier in 2018.
Anzac Rissetto (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)
Rissetto played his last two high school years at Auckland Grammar School. Represented New Zealand at the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup in Argentina where the starting centre averaged 6.3 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Recruited to Charlotte by NZU17 Head Coach Aaron Fearne.
Harrison Young (Texas Christian University)
After completing his studies at Kings College, Auckland he spent two years at Impact Academy in Sarasota, Florida.
The least heralded of the New Zealand Division I players, Young played representative basketball for Auckland during his time at Kings.