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New Zealand U18 3x3 basketball team announced for Youth Olympic Games

New Zealand U18 3x3 basketball team announced for Youth Olympic Games
New Zealand’s U18 3x3 (pronounced three-on-three) basketball team has been named for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

The roster is made up of a fine selection of talent, most of which has featured regularly on New Zealand age-group five aside teams.

The team is:

Joseph Ahie 
Thomas Whyte 
Max de Geest 
James Moors 
Head Coach: Karl Noyer

3x3 basketball has been contested at the two previous editions of the Youth Olympic Games, with the sport to make its full Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020. The rules can be viewed at this link.

For de Geest the 3x3 selection is an extension of what has already been an impressive year. It’s been just over a week since de Geest returned from winning a silver medal with the Junior Tall Blacks at the FIBA U18 Asia Championships. Upon return he was also named as one of four development players for the SKYCITY Breakers. He was a key player for the Waitaha Canterbury Red team that won the Under 19 National Championships last June, where he was also named in the tournament team. At only 18, de Geest also played for the fifth-placed Canterbury Rams in the NBL this year.

James Moors was also part of the Junior Tall Blacks team at the FIBA U18 Asia Championships this month, with the selection a continuation of his surging success in recent years. Moors has signed an NCAA Division 1 basketball scholarship with Colorado State University, United States. The Westlake old boy has been a regular for Harbour Basketball, helping to win national titles during his time. Moors was also selected to play at the Nike All Asia Camp and the NBA's Asia Pacific Camp last year. He says the chance to play at the Youth Olympic Games is a dream come true.

“Having the opportunity to represent New Zealand at the Youth Olympic Games is a pretty amazing feeling. I’ve always wanted to compete at this competition so I’m very thankful for being selected and can’t wait to get on the court,” said Moors.

Thomas Whyte has also represented his province, playing for Auckland Basketball. He recently competed commendably at the U19 Nationals. Whyte also gained selection for the 2017 Nike All Asia Camp along with James Moors. Whyte has ambitions to attain a scholarship in the US and will be departing Auckland Grammar school to begin a post-graduate year at St Thomas More Prep School, Connecticut from September 2018.

Joseph Ahie, from Onslow College in Wellington, will be representing his school at the Secondary Schools Basketball Premierships early next month. Ahie last represented Wellington at the U19 Nationals and was also named in the tournament team. Ahie says the opportunity to play for New Zealand is a privilege.

“Representing New Zealand is such a huge honour to me. I'm excited to do it once again, especially at an event as huge as the Youth Olympic Games. It'll be an experience I'll never forget,” said Ahie.

The 2018 Youth Olympic Games will be the third summer youth Games, following those in Singapore in 2010 and Nanjing in 2014.

The Games are a pre-elite development opportunity for the world's most promising young athletes, allowing them to experience a multi-sport games environment while exposing them to learning and cultural opportunities and helping them on the performance pathway.
 
NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith extended her congratulations to the athletes.

“Well done to these young men for gaining selection for the Youth Olympic Games. We look forward to seeing you compete for New Zealand in just over a month.”

Three of the Youth Olympic team have also been named to play in the FIBA 3x3 U18 Asia Cup in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, 6 – 9 September. Only Ahie will not play in that team, partly on account of his commitment to the Schick Premierships next week.

The Youth Olympic Games will run from 6-18 October in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Athlete Information

Joe Ahie:

Age at Games: 18.
High School: Onslow College.
Ethnicity: Maori/Pakeha.
Career highlight: My career highlight would have to be representing New Zealand at the FIBA U18 Oceania Champs in Guam last year. The boys and I placed second meaning we advanced to the U19 Asia champs in Thailand. It was an honour to put on the black and white for the first time and I'm looking forward to doing it again.
How did you get into your sport? I got into the sport from a young age by playing mini ball for my primary school. I was invited to trial for the U13 Wellington rep team by a friend and I guess the rest is history.
What do you love about the sport? The thing I love about basketball is that every single play pushes you right to your limit, and every single player can make a difference to the outcome of the game. I also love the brotherhood that is created between teammates and the lifelong relationships you build through the sport.
What inspires you? The thing that inspires me the most is probably my parents. They have always strived to be the best they can possibly be and have instilled that into me throughout my childhood. I'm also inspired by the heart that New Zealanders seem to have in everything we do. It's crazy that for such a small nation we could be so successful in sports, arts, and academics and it makes me feel proud to come from here.
 

Max de Geest: 

Age at Games: 18.
High School: Waitaki Boys High School/Christ’s College.
Ethnicity: NZ European.
Career highlight? Qualifying for 2019 World Champs.
How did you get into your sport? Dad played, so I wanted to play.
What do you love about the sport? There’s so many aspects to the game and you can always work on something.
What inspires you? Getting better.
 

James Moors: 

Age at Games: 18.
High School: Westlake.
Ethnicity: NZ.
Career highlight? D1 scholarship to Colorado State University.
How did you get into your sport? Year 4 playing at lunch times.
What do you love about the sport? Team togetherness and competition.
What inspires you? Love for the game, dream to play in the NBA.
 

Thomas Whyte: 

Age at Games: 18
High School: Auckland Grammar School
Ethnicity: NZ European
Career highlight: Making this team and competing at the Youth Olympic Games will be my career highlight. I was also selected to attend the Nike All-Asia Camp last year in China.
How did you get into your sport? My brother started playing basketball at school and so I followed him into it. I have always been very enthusiastic about playing since then.
What do you love about the sport? I love that 3x3 basketball is exciting and fast paced. Also, because there are fewer players on the court there is more space to play and be creative in.
What inspires you? Being around great coaches and players inspires me to be the best player I can be. I understand that basketball can give me some incredible opportunities in life to go to some amazing places and meet some awesome people. My goal of a US college scholarship is what drives me every day. I would also love to play professionally after college.

About Buenos Aires 2018


The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) is an international, multi-sport event for young athletes aged 14-18 with an educative and cultural nature that aims to foster the Olympic values of respect, friendship and excellence in youth.

The event, which takes place every four years, is promoted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games will be held from October 6 -18 with the participation of almost four thousand athletes from 206 countries.

The Youth Olympic Games is a pre-elite development opportunity for the world's most promising young athletes and will allow young athletes to experience a multi-sport games environment while exposing them to learning and cultural opportunities. The Games will better prepare them for the world of sport and help them on the performance pathway.
 
New Zealand expects to send a team of around 60 athletes to contest the third edition of the Youth Olympic Games. The team Chef de Mission is three time Olympic medallist Barbara Kendall.












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