The Aon New Zealand Under 15 Boys and Girls teams have arrived in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea ahead of the FIBA Oceania U15 Championships, starting tomorrow.
Both teams will be aiming for a top two finish which will qualify them for the U16 FIBA Asian Championships next year.
The New Zealand Girls will initially play against the other four competing teams – Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Samoa. Tonga was part of the draw, but was withdrawn after they failed to provide the necessary documents to FIBA.
Under 15 Girls Head coach Natalie Visger is keen to see how her team adapts to the newly introduced style of play New Zealand national age group teams are adopting.
“We hope to continue to promote and encourage the athletes to put that style out there against the other Oceania nations.
“I know there will be some learning curves, but there is no better situation to test what they're learned than in international competition.
“For most of these young ladies, it will be their first international experience and the staff is excited to see how we compete and execute under pressure. We will focus on the process each game and re-evaluate and tweak our goals as we go along. Everything we do needs to reflect our team emphasis within our new New Zealand style of play,” emphasised Visger.
The New Zealand boys draw is hurriedly being re-done, but the New Zealand team will be contesting the title with Australia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Fiji and Guam.
Under 15 Boys Head Coach Morgan Maskell says this is an exciting time for his young players as they get their first taste of FIBA international basketball.
“The coaching staff are really excited about the potential within the group that we have selected. We believe the team is extremely versatile and are capable of playing a very modern style of basketball.”
Maskell has been involved in the Basketball New Zealand development programme for some years, but this is his first campaign as Head Coach.
“It's a real privilege to have ‘New Zealand’ on your chest, and it’s important that all of us display the requisite amount of pride and mana that come with that privilege. This process is not just about preparing the players for a trip to Papua New Guinea, but it’s also about producing future leaders whether that be on the court as future Tall Blacks, or off the court as leaders in our communities.
“The FIBA Oceania U15 Championships will be a new and exciting experience for our group. Australia will be a very tough opponent as per usual but the programmes in Guam and Samoa are on the rise and will also present a challenge to us at the tournament as well,” said Maskell.
The event will show limited streaming on Court One.
Tournament details here.
• Aon New Zealand U15 Boys
• Aon New Zealand U15 Girls