U.S. Colleges are continuing to look at young New Zealand talent as another Kiwi basketballer has been signed to a full NCAA Division 1 scholarship.
Takiula Fahrensohn was being eagerly courted by three Division 1 colleges, with the Universities of Hawaii and Menlo keen to recruit the 198cm Guard, but it was the University of Portland that won through with an offer of four years' tuition fees, books, accommodation, food, a cost of attendance allowance, and an environment that Fahrensohn says ticked all the boxes.
"The University of Portland is a great school academically, the campus has a great feel to it, everyone is super friendly and it feels like a tight knit community.
"I am also really excited to play in the West Coast Conference, it is a very strong league which includes Gonzaga, St Marys, Pepperdine and BYU," says Fahrensohn.
Once at Portland, 17 year old Fahrensohn will be under the close watch of NBA legend, Coach Terry Porter. Coach Porter started his NBA career in 1985 when he was the 24th draft, signed by the Portland Trail Blazers. In Portland, he played ten seasons with two All-Star Game appearances. Overall he spent 17 years in the NBA as a player.
"The coaching team lead by Coach Porter, and Assistant Coaches Cantu, Johnson and Kramer are all very focussed on building the teams strengths and making each player better - they are very experienced and have a good long term plan.
"All four coaches at U.P. have seen me play in person at some point, my recruitment was a real team effort on their part. They first saw me play in LA, then later in Las Vegas with the Harbour U.S. tour team. They then flew in to watch me at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Nationals in Palmerston North."
After the US Harbour tour 11 Colleges contacted Fahrensohn to voice their interest.
"I later found out a lot of college coaches contact a lot of players and its important to know where you rank in their recruitment plan. Eventually, Menlo, Hawaii and Portland told me I was highly ranked, so I didnt count the others."
The Auckland Grammar student has represented Waitakere since 2007 and is part of the wider Junior Tall Blacks Squad, with a strong chance of making the final 13 which will be named on 29 November. But like many players, he says he is very thankful for the help of his parents Jeff and Taina.
"There are so many people who have helped me get this opportunity. My Dad is also a coach, hes coached me and taught me everything about basketball as a child. Im also thankful to Waitakere Basketball, which has been my Club for my entire basketball life. Theres also my Coaches T-Bo, Bruce and Manu, and my Grammar team for keeping me focussed. The team behind the Harbour U.S. tour - Coach Kenny Stone, John Hunt and Anna Inger - for inviting me to join the tour team to the States, where I was first seen by Coach Porter. The Breakers Development programme led by Mike Fitchett, has also really helped to improve my basketball skills," says Fahrensohn.
When asked about the future, Fahersohn says he hopes to finish college with a Business major and lifelong friends, but obviously basketball remains a big part of his plans.
"Every baller dreams of playing the NBA at some stage and Im no different. However I would love to represent New Zealand."
- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Basketball New Zealand