Tall Blacks Head Coach Paul Henare has enlisted the support of former Cairns Head Coach Aaron Fearne for the upcoming Commonwealth Games campaign. Fearne will be stepping into a support role to Henare and Assistant Coaches Pero Cameron and Mike Fitchett.
The team departs for the Gold Coast tomorrow, looking to add to the silver medal won in 2006, on the only other occasion when basketball has been included on the Games schedule.
With the team based in Fearne’s home town of Cairns for their pool games, Henare says Fearne will provide valuable intel to the team by way of scouting, while also running his eye over the overall campaign and assisting the coaching team in any area required.
“I have always had an enormous amount of respect for Aaron, for his ability to get the best out of players, but also a programme with limited resources, as has typically been the case throughout his career in Cairns,” said Henare today.
“Our programme at the Games is a very condensed one, with games coming and going quickly, and time of the essence. We identified that to be successful we needed extra resource at the Games. Fearney will be busy in a scouting role, providing us with team and individual player scouts ahead of each game, while also there as a sounding board for myself and the coaching team throughout the campaign.
“His local knowledge will also be invaluable as we look to get the best out of our time in Cairns,” Henare added.
Fearne has just recently finished a 19-year association as a player and coach with Cairns, and was delighted to get the call from Henare to assist with the national team.
“I am honoured to be given the opportunity to be part of the Tall Blacks programme by Iain Potter, Leonard King and Coach Paul Henare, and to bring my experiences and ideas, but to also learn from the programme and experience international basketball.”
Having grown up in New Plymouth, Ferne says his ties with New Zealand are strong and he’s proud to be in the Kiwis camp.
“I went to New Plymouth Boys High School where Judd Flavell was a teammate. My Mum still lives in New Plymouth. I maintain a very close relationship with Coach Steve McKean (past Tall Blacks Coach) who also helped me get to the USA and play High School basketball in Winona, Minnesota which lead to a four-year college career.”
Having left New Zealand at 17 years of age on a journey that took him to the United States and then a subsequent playing and coaching career across the Tasman, Fearne says he’s looking forward to stepping into a Kiwi environment that’s famed for its team culture and ‘Tu Kaha’ spirit.
“You learn to appreciate the passion, importance of a positive culture, dedication and professionalism needed to compete on the world stage, and it really impresses me the success stories of New Zealand's sporting men and women. The future and the direction of basketball in New Zealand is extremely positive and its growth potential is exciting.”
Fearne will meet up with the team upon arrival on the Gold Coast, with the bulk of the team departing Auckland on Friday.