For young basketball players hoping to take their game to higher levels, opportunity is everything. But those opportunities can be a rare thing in New Zealand.

Sometimes it all comes down to luck. That was the case for Steven Adams, and he hopes to be a driving force in changing that.

When a younger Adams was scouted by University of Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon, he wasn't the intended target.

"He came over and he was, I think, looking at Rob Loe, to be honest, in Auckland," Adams said. "He knew [Adams' mentor] Kenny [McFadden] and Kenny called him and brought him down [to Wellington].


"He didn't actually know about me, so you could say that that's luck — lucky that I met Kenny, and lucky that Kenny was able to contact him and bring him down."

Now a vital member of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA, Adams wants to eliminate the luck factor involved in giving Kiwis the opportunity to earn scholarships and further their careers.

The 25-year-old is hosting his annual camps in the coming weeks — beginning in Auckland, then in Palmerston North and Dunedin. While in Palmerston North, he will host 40 top high school players for two-day high-performance camps with some of New Zealand's top coaches and mentors, culminating in a boys and girls game.

Adams said he had considered hosting something similar for a few years, and saw a need to help the next generation capitalise on their talent.

"It's a good opportunity for the top kids themselves to get some exposure, because that's the toughest thing they face, really. As an athlete from New Zealand, it is exposure. Not many schools in America think 'I need a basketballer, let's look in New Zealand'.

"It ain't just about playing basketball against the top players in New Zealand.

"We have some people coming in and talking to them about the path that they can take.

"It's much more than just playing — that's cool, we know that you can play — but it's the off-court stuff — can you get that under control? Because that's probably the biggest factor.


"Ultimately, the future, these kids that we're helping now — especially with this high-performance thing — they're going to make basketball in New Zealand better than what it is.

"It ain't just me. It's going to be a bunch of different players that went down this path and they're going to propel basketball to another level and take it more seriously. People will look at us more seriously in the future, it's just going to take time."