At just 23 years old, ISAAC FOTU has cemented his reputation as one of the most important players in the Tall Blacks. Team Manager Andrew Dewhurst said his quiet leadership and drive to win is matched by his remarkable athleticism. Fotu has been a standout performer in arguably the toughest league outside the NBA, averaging 21 minutes, 7.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and shooting at over 50 percent from the field for his Zaragoza team in the professional Spain league. His numbers have improved in the current 2017 season as he further underlines his ability in a great league.
Despite a late injury in the last Tall Blacks game of the 2016, Isaac had an outstanding campaign with the Tall Blacks in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in the Philippines, and also during the tour leading up to that event. At the Atlas Tournament in China, where New Zealand finished third, Isaac scored 13 points in the first up 80-65 win over Belarus, a 15/12 double-double in the 76-68 victory over Japan, and 10 points and nine boards in the 98-74 success over China. That was followed by 20 points in the Semi Final defeat to Lithuania and 21 points on eight-of-13 shooting in the 90-84 playoff win over China.
At the OQT that followed, he was again a leading performer in the win over the Philippines (17 points and 5 rebounds) and close losses to number five ranked France (8 pts, 10 boards) before his tournament was cut short with a calf injury early in the nail biting loss against Canada in the semi-finals.
Corey Webster was the Breakers leading point scorer with 15.5 points per game, leading to the Breakers winning their fourth Australia NBL Championship in 2015. He was also the leading scorer for the Tall Blacks with 19.5 points per game in the 2015 FIBA Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament against Australia. He played professionally for Mega Leks in the Serbian Super League and earned an invitation to the NBA Indiana Pacers training camp. In September 2015 he signed with the New Orleans Pelicans NBA team and played three pre-season games before returning to play for the Breakers.
Accepting the award on Corey's behalf is Tall Blacks Head Coach, Paul Henare.
Mika Vukona was captain of the Nelson Giants, who made the final four of the 2014 NBL. He was the Tall Blacks captain for both the home series win over South Korea and for the World Cup in Spain, where the team made the top 16. He also captained the New Zealand Breakers to their ANBL Championships win, which also saw him surpass Paul Henare’s record for number of games played for the NZ Breakers with 268 games.
Accepting the awards on Mika's behalf is BBNZ Life Member, Steve Fitchett.