Basketball New Zealand has named the 2020 Junior Tall Blacks (JTBs) and Junior Tall Ferns (JTFs), despite the possibility that some of these players might not play in the black singlet this year due to COVID-19.
The JTFs were set to play in the Four Nations International in China, while the JTBs were set to play in the Albert Schweitzer International in Germany. Both events were cancelled.
Basketball New Zealand High Performance Director Leonard King says officially naming this team was important to not only acknowledge that these players did make the roster, but also to shine a light on these young Kiwi talents.
He says the goal is to help the players be seen and sought out by college scouts looking to fill scholarship positions, teams within the Sal’s National Basketball Leagues (men’s and women’s) and any other opportunities that this recognition helps secure.
“Being named in an age-group New Zealand side usually brings the benefit of testing your skills on the international stage that is watched closely by the international basketball community.
“Those young players would usually get the additional benefits of training in our elite environment, travelling abroad and experiencing the honour of representing your home nation.
“Unfortunately, the JTFs and JTBs will not take the court anytime soon. But being named in a New Zealand roster also helps highlight these players as top young talent.
“These lists will be on the desk of recruiters in no time. We wanted to ensure that still happens and the opportunities for these awesome young Kiwis are still made available.”
Basketball New Zealand also released two videos with JTF’s Head Coach Hernando Planells and JTB’s Head Coach Aaron Fearne naming each player and acknowledging their strengths.
King says this was an added idea to boost that exposure.
“Getting a scholarship is also about making sure you are seen by the right people. A lot of these kids have ambitions to play and study in the US and join the other 100 plus Kiwis doing that each year.
“Basketball New Zealand has embraced that opportunity for a long time, with many of our Kiwi players getting a degree while playing quality basketball.
“That can also happen here in New Zealand too, with more New Zealand universities offering sports scholarships.
“Those institutions now know, if they get an application from one of these kids, they are getting it from a New Zealand representative who is among the very best in their age group.”
There will be another selection for Basketball New Zealand Under 19 teams later in the year which will target the FIBA U18 Asian Championship tournament.
JUNIOR TALL FERNS
|Players Name||Position||Player’s association|
|Caitlin O’Connell||Point Guard||TARANAKI COUNTRY BASKETBALL|
|Waiata Jennings||Point Guard||ROTORUA BASKETBALL|
|Arielle Williams Mackey||Shooting Guard||WAIKATO BASKETBALL|
|Olivia Williams||Shooting Guard||NEW ZEALAND|
|Jessica Moors||Shooting Guard||HARBOUR BASKETBALL|
|Melika Samia||Small Forward||BASKETBALL HAWKE’S BAY|
|Ella Paleaae-Cook||Small Forward||NEW ZEALAND|
|Ashlee Strawbridge||Small Forward||CANTERBURY BASKETBALL|
|Victoria Ikenasio||Power Forward||NEW ZEALAND|
|Raquel Sampson||Power Forward||NEW PLYMOUTH BASKETBALL|
|Dominique Stephens||Center||WAIKATO BASKETBALL|
|Jazzmyne Kailahi-Fulu||Center||HARBOUR BASKETBALL|
|Quaye Walker-Eketone||Point Guard||WAIKATO BASKETBALL|
|Ramona Fuaivaa||Shooting Guard||Waitakere West Auckland Basketball|
|Hannah Louise Matehaere||Small Forward||BASKETBALL OTAGO|
|Sophie Adams||Power Forward||CANTERBURY BASKETBALL|
|Hernando Planells||Head Coach|
|Shay Haira||Assistant Coach|
|Bronwen Davidson||Assistant Coach|
|George Robinson||Assistant Coach|
JUNIOR TALL BLACKS
|Connor Ngan||Point Guard||BASKETBALL AUCKLAND|
|Alexander McNaught||Point Guard||BASKETBALL AUCKLAND|
|Jackson Smyth||Shooting Guard||NEW ZEALAND|
|Harrison Payne||Shooting Guard||WAITAKERE WEST AUCKLAND BASKETBALL|
|Taine Murray||Shooting Guard||HARBOUR BASKETBALL|
|Sean Murphy||Small Forward||HARBOUR BASKETBALL|
|Clifton Bush III||Small Forward||BASKETBALL HAWKE’S BAY|
|Reihana Maxwell-Topia||Small Forward||HARBOUR BASKETBALL|
|Robbie Coman||Power Forward||BASKETBALL AUCKLAND|
|Rishon Royce||Power Forward||NEW ZEALAND|
|Tommy Fergusson||Center||BASKETBALL HAWKE’S BAY|
|Mac Stodart||Center||CANTERBURY BASKETBALL|
|Kael Robinson||Small Forward||WAIKATO BASKETBALL|
|Finn Lally||Small Forward||WAIKATO BASKETBALL|
|Ezrah Ayden Vaigafa||Point Guard||NEW ZEALAND|
|Aidan Tonge||Power Forward||ROTORUA BASKETBALL|
|Aaron Fearne||Head Coach|
|Matt Lacey||Assistant Coach|
|Aaron Young||Assistant Coach|
|Lindsay Tait||Assistant Coach|