After years spent watching Steven Adams' success in the world of basketball, Anzac Rissetto is following in his hero's size 18 footsteps, heading to the States for a scholarship.

The 18-year-old is attributing his own successes, in part, to Adams' influence.

He was one of some 1200 aspiring players to attend a basketball camp the NBA player coordinated last year, and was lucky enough to score some one-on-one mentoring.

Rissetto will feature on Holding Court - a series focusing on Adams and his annual camp, airing on Māori Television later this month.

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The latest camp was run by a team of current and former coaches last August; two days of drills followed by a day of games. Rissetto met his childhood hero one day after drills - he was picking up a few tips from one of the coaches when Adams jumped in himself.

"We banged around against each other a little bit," Rissetto said. "He pretty much said 'go out there and play hard'."

Rissetto said the pair had a chat and saw eye to eye on lots of things. They didn't quite see literally eye to eye though - while Rissetto is a mega 208cms, Adam is even taller at 215cm, or 7 feet.

Steven Adams and Anzac Rissetto watching a game at Adams' basketball camp in August last year. Photo / Supplied
Steven Adams and Anzac Rissetto watching a game at Adams' basketball camp in August last year. Photo / Supplied

"That dude is a strong, big human," Rissetto said. "I thought I was a big dog, but that guy is next level."

Adams, the country's highest paid sportsman, helps run the camps in between seasons playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

As for Rissetto, he'll have time to catch the first episode or two before jetting off to the University of Charlotte, where he's taking up a full scholarship to play ball and study international business.

While the four-year scholarship wasn't a direct result of the camp, Rissetto reckons it helped get him under the eyeballs of the right people.

The opportunity is "humbling" he said, coming from his roots in the small town of Picton.

"To get an opportunity to go to a different country to study and play the game that I love - not many people can say they get to do that for free."

And if the scholarship wasn't on the table?

Rissetto said he'd likely be working "one of those 10-hour jobs, or something".

Rissetto's time at Adams' camp will feature on Holding Court - a series airing on Māori Television later this month. Photo / FIBA
Rissetto's time at Adams' camp will feature on Holding Court - a series airing on Māori Television later this month. Photo / FIBA

Growing up, Rissetto was always a big kid. He got into rugby aged five, later ditching the field for a basketball court.

He switched to basketball after following Adams's rise up the ranks in the States.

"I just wanted to be like Steve."

He was still living in Picton with his mum Carmen, midway through his schooling, when he told her he wanted to give basketball a go.

"She said, 'we'd better do something about that', so we talked to some basketball people in Nelson, got me into Nelson College, and I guess I got pretty good."

"Pretty good" was enough to land Rissetto a half scholarship at Auckland Grammar, so at the start of year 12 he farewelled Carmen and their pooch Baxta to become a boarder.

His mum - who works in a range of jobs including operating machinery to managing bars - was a huge inspiration.

"She's pretty talented, my mum," Rissetto said. "She works real hard to support me."

School basketball had allowed the aspiring player to travel a fair bit, but he hadn't been to America before a trip to Charlotte, to check the place out.

Rissetto described America as "big"; the cars, the clothing and especially the food.

"I just asked for a small piece of chicken and they gave me about half a chicken," he said.

Currently, Rissetto playing with the Wellington Saints, staying with one of his team-mates in the in the capital.

He'll head back to Charlotte for good in May, where he hopes he'll make his mum, and Adams, proud.