Basketball New Zealand’s determination to sign top-line coaches for the junior national teams has been rewarded again as Pero Cameron agrees to be the Head Coach for the Aon New Zealand Under 17 girls team.
The Tall Blacks legend, Tall Blacks Assistant Coach and FIBA Hall of Famer has devoted his professional life to the game of basketball. Despite many years in the game, Cameron says this is a fresh addition to his career.
“It’s my first time at this level with the girls. In Australia I do coach a girls’ high-school team and occasionally a rep’ team, but this is a new challenge for me and something I’m pretty excited about.”
Cameron says the national junior teams are now seeing some fantastic opportunities to compete on the world stage thanks to FIBA placing Oceania into the Asia Zone.
“I think the last couple of years have shown, through our shift from Oceania to Asia, that a lot of our age-group teams are making these medal spots and then get to go to the worlds. So it’s a great opportunity for our up and coming athletes to wear that singlet – bleeding the black, representing your country – and not just your country, but your family and your area, and everybody putting on that black jersey. It’s huge.”
Although more famously known for his time with the Tall Blacks and coaching elite men’s teams in the NZ NBL, Cameron says coaching younger people does require a different point of view.
“You have got to remember that you are dealing with students, very young adults, 14, 15, 16 year olds. Although they may have a lot of years under the belt playing reps and locally, I still think they are quite young. So we must remember that and help them with the process of becoming better players, putting on top performances, and understanding they are still growing.
“I think coaching girls high-school, rep-level and age-groups in Australia, is different. But it’s rewarding and surprising to see how dedicated these athletes are. It’s really awesome,” says Cameron.
The next pinnacle event for this team will be the FIBA Under 16 Asia Cup. The team will be selected from attendees at the National Selection Camp, 23-27 April.
The boys’ Under 17 New Zealand Coach will be announced tomorrow morning.
Other current age-group New Zealand Head Coaches include Aaron Fearne, Gavin Briggs and Hernando Plannels. The Aon New Zealand U17 Boys’ Head Coach will be announced later today.