Basketball: Young talents in line for New Zealand Select call-up

By Niall Anderson

Ethan Rusbatch (right) and Derone Raukawa could both make the NZ Select Team. Photo / Photosport
Ethan Rusbatch (right) and Derone Raukawa could both make the NZ Select Team. Photo / Photosport

Several of New Zealand's most promising basketball talents will get a chance to impress at the international level.

The New Zealand Select team is set to return to action in June, giving players on the fringe of the Tall Blacks a chance to gain international experience.

Introduced last year, the NZ Select tour was used to develop the likes of Finn Delany, Derone Raukawa and Ethan Rusbatch, all of whom have represented the Tall Blacks since.

This time around, the New Zealand Select squad is set to skew even younger, including some standouts in the New Zealand National Basketball League, as well as potentially drawing upon some of the 16 Kiwi players playing or committed to a Division One US college.

"I think this team might be a little bit younger than it was last year, but possibly more talented," says Tall Blacks coach Paul Henare.

"It's a team or program that I think is hugely beneficial leading into this new format."

Henare confirmed that they are talking with promising Washington big man Sam Timmins, while strong NBL seasons will also be rewarded.

The likes of Rusbatch, Raukawa, Alonzo Burton, Tony Tolovae, Dion Prewster and Houston O'Riley are just several of a slew of guards who could be selected, while Delany, Jordan Ngatai, Duane Bailey, Beny Anthony and James Hunter could join college big men in being in the mix for the squad.

The New Zealand Select team will travel to China straight after the NBL Final Four, playing several tournaments in late June, before the Tall Blacks camp starts a month later.

- NZ Herald

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