Dan Fotu and Quinn Clinton officially signed the paperwork with American College St Mary’s last night, the latest in an increasing number of young New Zealanders to earn scholarships at some of the leading American College basketball programmes.
Fotu (North Harbour) and Clinton (Canterbury) are both currently with the SKYCITY Breakers as development players, but have come through the provincial and school ranks, as well as playing for New Zealand along the way, most recently with Clinton leading the Anchor Junior Tall Blacks at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Egypt earlier this year, a tournament Fotu missed through injury.
It is appropriate that both players are sharing time at the Breakers in their D-unit roles, and that they shared the spotlight when signing their papers with their parents alongside at Spark Arena last night, given they have both signed to study and play at St Mary’s College in California, under the guidance of 17-year veteran Head Coach Randy Bennett.
Quinn’s father Peter Clinton says the family is understandably proud of Quinn’s achievements thus far, and the help he has had along the way.
“This signing is the start of an exciting new era for Quinn. Studying and playing in the US is a wonderful opportunity for any athlete. Quinn’s recruitment by St Mary’s College is in large part due to the expert training and exposure created by basketball academies like the Mainland Eagles and Basketball New Zealand. We’re very grateful for their support. Together, Quinn and Dan are going to make us all proud,” said Peter.
Jenny and Manu Fotu are no strangers to this process, with Dan being the third child after Isaac (now playing in Germany and a Tall Blacks star) and more recently Gabriella who is studying and playing at Hawaii Pacific University.
“Dan will be our third child to receive this amazing opportunity to attend a US College on a basketball scholarship. Our family is so proud of Dan’s achievement and we would like to thank a lot of people who have contributed to his success to date,” said Jenny on behalf of the family.
“Kenny Stone has coached Dan in both school and representative teams for the last seven years. Harbour Basketball Association and SKYCITY Breakers have also had a massive input into Dan’s all-round development, and Kevin Braswell for his one on one skills work with Dan. We look forward to Dan using the skills that all these people have helped him develop and make them, himself and New Zealand proud of what he can achieve over at Saint Mary’s College.”
Clinton was a part of the wider Tall Blacks training roster this year, and has come through the Canterbury system, being a member of the Mainland Eagles Academy and featuring as a development player with the Canterbury Rams, while also playing for and captaining the Canterbury Under 19 team to the 2017 National title.
Former Tall Black point guard and current Rams Head Coach Mark Dickel has worked extensively with Clinton over recent years, at both the Rams and Mainland Eagles Academy.
"We wish Quinn all the best as he begins his career with the Gaels, we have thoroughly enjoyed having Quinn part of our Mainland Eagles Academy & as a Canterbury Rams development player," said Dickel.
St Mary’s ‘Gaels’ have appeared in nine NCAA tournaments, the most recent of which was earlier this year. They have a strong historical association with Australian players, with Patty Mills and Mathew Dellavedova two of the better-known alumni to go on to enjoy successful NBA careers.
18-year-old Fotu will head to summer school for four weeks in June, then return to New Zealand with St Mary’s on their tour of Australia and New Zealand before starting the school year proper.
Clinton will follow a similar path to Fotu, travelling to St Mary’s in June 2018 to begin his academic year.