Basketball: Young talent show off hoops skills

By Peter White

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Junior Tall Blacks player Dane Brooks blocked by Porirua's Jordan Ngatai. Photo / John Borren
Junior Tall Blacks player Dane Brooks blocked by Porirua's Jordan Ngatai. Photo / John Borren

More than 200 of New Zealand's finest young basketballers showed their hoops skills on day one of the 2014 Under-23 National Championships at the ASB Arena, yesterday.

The tournament runs through until Saturday, when it will conclude with the women's final at 4pm followed by the men's final at 5.45pm.

An interesting addition this year is the appearance of the Junior Tall Blacks, who are not eligible to win the event but are competing in pool play to gain some intense competition, before the 2014 Under-19 FIBA Oceania Championships in Suva, Fiji in November.

Tauranga City Basketball general manager Mark Rogers says his association is proud to once again be selected by Basketball New Zealand to host the prestigious tournament.

"I suppose it is an indication of our ability to deliver the tournaments," he said. "It is part of our strategic plan to bring these type of events to town.

"This is the highest level below national league that you can get for both the men and the women.

"It is a great opportunity for Tauranga people to see more high level basketball and the Tall Blacks and Tall Ferns of the future."

It has been a positive time for basketball in the Western Bay. The Tall Blacks played South Korea at the ASB Arena last month and the Tauranga City Mariners are leading the new development SAS Sports CBL basketball league.

"That is a stepping stone for our local players and as we have under-23 players spread around the country," said Rogers.

"We want to provide a platform for them to compete at a high level, when they come back to town, or if they stay in town, in the years to come."

Iain Potter, chief executive Basketball New Zealand, says the under-23 championships will provide some exciting basketball and put a lot of talent on display.

"They come at a time when we have the Tall Blacks about to represent New Zealand at the World Cup in Spain and the Tall Ferns soon to leave for a four nation series in China," he said.

"In coming years we will see names from this event appearing as Tall Blacks and Tall Ferns on the world stage it's a very exciting possibility."


Tournament details at basketball.org.nz.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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