Tall Blacks coach Paul Henare is hopeful that Steven Adams will soon pull on the Tall Blacks singlet, but he is unlikely to be available for their quest to qualify for the World Cup.

The Tall Blacks have been drawn alongside China, South Korea and Hong Kong in their qualifying pool for the 2019 Basketball World Cup, as they embark upon their first qualifying campaign in the Asian confederation.

They play each of the three teams home and away, but they likely will have to do without the services of Adams. The first four games will be played in November and February, and clash directly with the NBA season. The final two qualifiers are held shortly after the conclusion of the NBA season in late June and early July, meaning Adams could be called upon if circumstances allow.

Henare says that although it is unlikely Adams will be seen for World Cup qualification games, he will be checking his availability for the Tall Blacks' debut appearance at the Asia Cup in August.


"I'll be reaching out to everyone involved in the Tall Blacks programme and requesting everyone be available for that. There are a number of opportunities between now and Tokyo [for Adams] to be a part of it," Henare told Radio Sport.

"I touched base with Steve a week or so ago and asked to sit down when he gets back to New Zealand so I can have a chat to him. It's quite a unique situation."

After the Asia Cup, they play the first round of World Cup qualifying, with Henare highlighting 14th ranked China as the biggest test of a pool three of the four sides will progress from. Should they progress, the Tall Blacks will then join one of two pools of six, playing a further three countries home and away, with the top three teams from each pool plus the best fourth place team qualifying for the World Cup.

Henare believes that having a set schedule is a huge boost for the Tall Blacks' future.

"In terms of knowing what our programme looks like in the next three years - We've never had that as an organisation."

The Tall Blacks will be in camp in late July, playing in a build-up invitational tournament in China, before travelling to Lebanon for the Asia Cup.