Hawke's Bay have a rich presence of play-makers in basketball representation in New Zealand this season.

It doesn't get any higher than the Tall Blacks who named a 15-man squad yesterday for the Fiba World Cup qualifying games this month.

New Zealand men's coach Paul Henare, of Napier, is heading the campaign to play qualifiers against China (February 23) and South Korea (February 26) in the quest to also secure a berth to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Last season's Taylor Corporation-sponsored Hawks co-skipper Jarrod Kenny is in that national squad and so is Ethan Rusbatch, of Christchurch, who has signed a contract to play for the Hawke's Bay franchise team in the National Basketball League when it tips off in April.


Kenny is a point guard with the Perth Wildcats in the Australian National Basketball League (ANBL).

Add to that, the name of Bay-born Shelley Moana Hiha who is the massage therapist for the Tall Blacks and Skycity New Zealand Breakers.

Hawks mentor Zico Coronel, who has just relocated in Napier after resigning as a high schoolteacher in Porirua, Wellington, to serve in his first NBL term as head coach this winter, has been appointed the national under-15 boys' coach.

Coronel's recently appointed Hawks first lieutenant, Morgan Maskell, of Auckland, is his assistant coach of the age-group team.

Maskell also works as the basketball co-ordinator of Basketball HB.