Tall Blacks head coach Paul Henare has described this week's training camp in Wellington as a "resounding success".
Tomorrow,Henare will name 14 players to gather again that evening, this time in Rotorua, ahead of the FIBA World Cup Qualifying clash with Hong Kong on Thursday, June 28.
While the camp had plenty of experienced players in the likes of Mika Vukona, Tom Abercrombie, Rob Loe, Jarrod Kenny, Isaac Fotu and Reuben Te Rangi, it was also a chance for Henare to run his eye over the next generation of talent.
"We have guys like Tobias Cameron, Jackson Stent, Tyrell Harrison, Kruz Perrott-Hunt, Max Darling – guys that have never been in this environment before and then guys like Isaac Letoa and Jack Salt that have had a brief involvement before, but they have all hit the ground running.
"The last message to them as we prepare to head away is that, regardless of who we name on Sunday, they will all be better off for this experience as I know they will all wear the black singlet at some point in their futures," Henare said.
He said the mix of young and old made for a great vibe around the team.
"This is quite a different group from the Commonwealth Games. We have a lot of guys from that group but have had the chance to bring back some new guys, some young guys and the feel in the group has been awesome."
The team had one focus ahead of World Cup qualifiers in Rotorua and Auckland.
"We need to win, the competition format is such that you carry wins through to the next round so each result is extremely important. That is our No 1 focus for this window.
"There is always an eye on the future though, whenever we get together. With the competition format we have not had the same group together since the FIBA Asia Cup last year, that is four windows or competitions with four different teams. So, for us it is an eye on the future, but an eye on the competition as well."
While primarily using the time in Wellington to select his 14 players to reassemble on Sunday, Henare said every minute was precious for the team to work on their systems and playbook.
"Preparation time is extremely limited and you have to be so productive in the limited time you have on the floor. That is why we are so grateful for this camp and the chance to extend our preparation for the upcoming games.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"It is a trial as well, but we have tried to also build some layers in terms of what we want to do in our system in the time we have had the group together, work we will build on once we have the 14 together again in Rotorua on Sunday."
With players being released on Wednesday, Henare will name the 14 players to travel to Rotorua and Auckland tomorrow,following the conclusion of the current round of games.