Nearly every young basketballer knows the path that Steven Adams and Kalani Purcell took when combining basketball with study. Not as many know that there is a viable option much closer to home at Lincoln University in Canterbury.
LU’s basketball scholarships cover $6000 in tuition fees for a full-time course of study each year, as well as providing intensive, sport-specific training delivered by the University’s Sport Scholarship team and the Canterbury Basketball Association. Other services included in the basketball sport scholarship programme are strength and conditioning, nutrition for sporting performance, mental skills and sports specific skill coaching. Lincoln University Sport Scholars also receive individual performance planning – including technical and tactical development, game analysis, goal setting and long-term career planning services. Accommodation and textbooks/course-related costs are the responsibility of the applicant if successful, but with the Government’s “Fees Free” initiative, accepted students will receive funding through this avenue in addition to their sports scholarship.
The university says its basketball scholarships can be quite flexible, with athletes able to compete for franchises away from campus (including for teams in the Men’s and Women’s National Basketball Leagues), and then undertake their tertiary study in the second semester. Xavier Shaw took advantage of this, competing for his Taranaki Mountain-Airs in 2015, and then studying after the NZNBL season finished.
Another advocate for this New Zealand pathway is James Lissaman from the Canterbury Basketball Association, who is also the Code Manager for LU basketball scholarships.
“The success LU’s basketball programme has had since its inception in 2013 is something everyone involved is extremely proud of. With players competing for Men’s and Women’s NZNBL franchises while studying. LU is routinely one of the top premier club teams in the Canterbury competition. On a national level, the LU teams are regularly in the mix for the UTSNZ National Championship, and the women have headed to China the past three years as the UTSNZ 3×3 champions. The men’s side has won gold in both UTSNZ tournaments in a single calendar year, and will be aiming to return to those lofty heights soon,” says Lissaman.
As the world has become more connected, the barriers to playing overseas have become more and more reduced. Lissaman says LU recognises this and believes what they offer is different to the US scholarship pathway. New Zealand’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic has arguably been the best in the world so far, so Lincoln University is expecting a lot more interest and applications from local students, with the unsure nature overseas.
“Graduates walk away with a well-respected degree from a bona fide educational institution, the ability to play professionally while studying if they’re contracted, and friends and family being closer than they otherwise might be. LU is focused on having well-rounded individuals come out of their programmes, with sport being one important part of this.”
Lissaman says about a third of the athletes selected for Lincoln University scholarships have studied, or explored studying in the USA. These scholars have decided to attend LU, which they felt was more beneficial to their long-term plans. Some have transferred their papers over, with others undertaking post-graduate study once completing their degree in the USA.
“Even if a player is planning to head over to the USA to play college basketball, the knowledge of an alternative pathway in Aotearoa that they can take is valuable, and the selection committee looks very favourably upon athletes who re-apply if given an initial LU offer. My advice, therefore, is definitely to find out about the courses of study at LU, and apply if you are interested,” says Lissaman.
Applicants should submit game film of themselves playing after applying to email@example.com. These LU scholarships are only available for NZ/Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents.