To date, 51 Kiwi men and 64 Kiwi women are set to take the court in collegiate basketball in the United States and Canada this coming season.
Despite the ongoing problems COVID-19 is causing, the number of Kiwi athletes on basketball scholarships in North America has almost returned to pre-pandemic numbers.
Understandably, with the uncertainty that existed, numbers leaving New Zealand shores last year dipped below 100 for the first time in five years. Even so there were still 98 (57 women, 41 men) student-athletes in the USA, not far below the 114 on basketball scholarships in the 2019-20 collegiate year.
Numbers for the upcoming 2021-22 season are looking healthy with 113 athletes named by their respective colleges and universities:
- 44 NCAA Division I (Men 16/Women 28)
- 18 NCAA Division II (Men 12/Women 6)
- 5 NCAA Division III (Men 3/Women 2)
- 9 NAIA Division I (Men 8/Women 1)
- 35 Junior College (Men 9/Women 26)
- 2 Canadian Division I (Men 1/Women 1)
Among the female athletes Tera Reed, Amy West, Krystal and Charlisse Leger-Walker have already played for the Tall Ferns. In addition Tayla Dalton, Ashlee Strawbridge, Ella Bradley, Izzy Cook, Tara Manumaleuga, Helen Matthews, Kyra Paniora and Emilee Tahata have risen through the BBNZ selection pathway to play at Junior World Cups.
A total of 44 athletes (28 women and 16 men) are playing NCAA Division I hoops. A decade ago there were just 14 Kiwis at Division I universities, the number having steadily increased in the last decade.
This season Reed and the Leger-Walker’s will put their talents on display in the Pac-12, regarded as the strongest Division I women’s conference.
After an outstanding four-year career at Virginia Commonwealth University Reed has transferred to the University of Southern California Trojans for her final collegiate year.
Pencil 14 January 2022 in your diary for the match-up between Reed’s USC and Washington State University, featuring the Leger-Walkers.
Four of the seven Division I freshman women have featured in the Sal’s NBL in recent times – Rochelle Fourie (Cal State Northridge), Jess Moors (Colorado State), Arielle Mackey-Williams (BYU) and Jayzelee Waihi (Wichita State).
At the other end of the experience spectrum a number of senior players look set to create New Zealand all-time NCAA Division I records in the coming weeks and months:
Reed sits third on the New Zealand all-time Women’s Division I points scoring list with 1466 points, behind only Erin Rooney (1648 points) and Megan Compain (1497 points).
Kendell Heremaia (974 points for Fordham University Rams) and Tegan Graham (908 points for Colgate University and BYU) will, barring injury, move into the exclusive 1000 points club currently occupied by just 12 New Zealand women. Those 12 include Tall Ferns Stella Beck, Micaela Cocks, Ash Karaitiana, Tessa Boagni and Chevannah Paalvast.
Graham (123 games), Heremaia (117), Krystal Leger-Walker (112) and Reed (111) could all surpass Jillian Harmon’s record number of 136 Stanford University appearances during this campaign.
It’s not all about NCAA Division I student-athletes though. Kiwis are also making their mark at Division II, Division III, NAIA, NJCAA (Junior College) and Canadian universities and colleges.
No fewer than 26 women are playing on Junior College programs.
Taranaki’s Izzy Cook (Western Nebraska), Te Aroha’s Deejan Schuler (Casper College) and Cantabrians Molly Cockburn (Miles College) & Ashlee Strawbridge (Southern Idaho) each played at the NJCAA (Junior College) Women’s National Championships last season.
All four will return to their respective colleges hoping for further success in 2021-22.
The following Division II players will also resume their careers next month – Chanel Brodeur-Muir (St Thomas Aquinas College), Eva Langton (Texas A&M International), Hannah Wentworth (Eckerd College) and Tessa Talo-Tomokino (Northeastern State University).
The collegiate season begins this week ahead of almost six months of continuous action before conference tournaments and national championships play out in March and April.
Full list of female athletes (known at time of article being published):
NCAA Division I
Aimee Book (Senior at Fresno State University)
Aimee Book has transferred to Fresno State University for her senior year.
She was leading the scoring at California State University Fullerton last season until she was sidelined in January with torn ankle ligaments. She scored in double figures in eight of the nine games played and made 19 of 44 3-pointers (43.2%). She tallied 761 points and scored in double figures on 43 occasions during her three-years at Fullerton.
Fullerton Career Stats GP 66 GS 43 PPG 11.5 RPG 5.0
Kaitlin Burgess (Junior at Boise State University)
Kaitlin Burgess has joined Boise State after playing two years at Junior College for Southern Idaho Golden Eagles. She played all 24 games for Southern Idaho last season averaging a team high 13.6ppg and was named Region 18 Tournament MVP.
She left Rangitoto College after year 12 and completed her secondary education at Riverton High School, Utah.
McKenna Dale (Senior at University of Virginia)
The Ivy League cancelled its entire competition in 2020-21 meaning McKenna, a former Junior Tall Fern, played no basketball last season whilst at Brown University. She played 45 games for Brown in two seasons scoring 432 points – she missed the 2018-19 campaign due to injury.
Brown Career Stats GP 45 GS 21 PPG 9.6
Tayla Dalton (Sophomore at St Mary’s College, California)
Tayla played all 26 games for Saint Mary’s Gaels averaging 17 minutes per game last season and was second on the team in steals (26). Her season high was 18 points against Nevada in December.
Saint Mary’s Stats GP 26 GS 3 PPG 4.7 RPG 1.5
Rochelle Fourie (Freshman at University of California, Northridge)
Rochelle will commence her career at the University of California Northridge, 12 months later than originally scheduled as the school declared it was unable to compete due to the number of students that had voluntarily elected to opt out of competition last season due to Covid. A graduate of Manukura School, Palmerston North, Fourie played for the Junior Tall Ferns in 2019.
Tegan Graham (5th Year Senior at Brigham Young University)
A Graduate transfer from Colgate University for the 2020-21 season Tegan received All-West Coast Conference Honourable mention last season after shooting 49% from the floor and 46% (38/83) from three, playing all 23 games for the Cougars.
BYU finished runners-up at the West Coast Conference Tournament, beaten on the buzzer by Gonzaga in the final.
Graham has scored 908 career points and, with 123 Division I appearances, looks set to pass the Kiwi all-time record of 136 games achieved by Jillian Harmon (Stanford University, 2005-09).
BYU Stats GP 25 GS 1 PPG 8.3 RPG 2.9 APG 2.1
Div 1 Career GP 123 GS 48 PPG 7.4 RPG 5.0
Kendell Heremaia (5th Year Senior at Fordham University)
Kendell, named to the All-Atlantic 10 Second Team in 2020-21, averaged 13.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. She won an Atlantic 10 championship with Fordham in her sophomore year (2018-19).
With 117 appearances for the Rams Kendell is now just 26 points shy of 1,000 career points.
Stats GP 18 GS 18 PPG 12.7 RPG 7.4
Career GP 117 GS 90 PPG 8.3 RPG 5.4
Grace Hunter (Junior at Florida International University)
Porirua’s Grace Hunter has joined Florida International University after playing two years Junior College for South Plains College. Started all 24 games for South Plains last season averaging 10 points and 4 rebounds a game – rewarded with All-Western Junior College Athletic Conference honours.
Played a total of 57 games for the Texans.
Averaged 8.7ppg for New Zealand at the 2017 FIBA U17 Oceania Championships in Guam.
Victoria Ikenasio (Sophomore at St Peter’s University, New Jersey)
Played 26 games last season for St Peter’s Peacocks in 2020-21, scoring a season-best 12 points against Rider in January ’21.
Attended Maribyrnong Secondary College in Melbourne and played for the Junior Tall Ferns in 2019.
Stats GP 26 GS 2 PPG 2.3 RPG 2.4
Kobe King-Hawea (Junior at University of Texas at Austin)
Melbourne educated, Kobe played two-years in junior college before signing with UTA. She spent her freshman year at Gillette College and her sophomore year at Casper College where she averaged 15.5ppg.
Brother Dyson played for the Tall Blacks in 2017.
Jade Kirisome (Junior at St Mary’s College, California)
Jade was one of only two players to start every game for the Gaels last season. It was her first season playing for the Gaels having a redshirt year in 2019-20 having transferred from Furman University. An 80% free-throw shooter she finished third on the assists list averaging 2.1 per game. Scored a season high 18 points against Fresno State.
Brother Tane played for the Tall Blacks in 2020 against Australia. Both he and Jade attended Brisbane State High School.
Stats GP 26 GS 26 PPG 7.2 RPG 3.8
Career GP 58 GS 27 PPG 7.1 RPG 4
Charlisse Leger-Walker (Sophomore at Washington State University)
In an outstanding first season Charlisse scored in double figures in all but two games and 20+ on 12 occasions in 2020-21. Led the Pac 12 in points scored (407) and steals per game (2.33). Her 18.8 points per game is a record for a Washington State Cougars freshman.
Named Pac 12 Freshman of the Year and to the All-Pac 12 First Team.
Stats GP 24 GS 24 PPG 18.8 RPG 5.3
Krystal Leger-Walker (5th Year Senior at Washington State University)
In her first season with Washington State (2020-21) she received All-Pac 12 Honourable mention after leading the league in assists (109) and averaging 9.8 points per game.
Krystal has already amassed 487 career assists to compliment 794 points in 112 Division I appearances, 88 of those for the University of Northern Colorado.
Washington State Stats GP 24 GS 24 PPG 10.0 RPG 4.3 APG 4.5
Career Stats GP 112 GS 90 PPG 7.1 RPG 4 APG 3.9
Arielle Mackey-Williams (Freshman at BYU)
Played for Auckland Dream in the 2020 NBL averaging 14.4 points whilst in Year 13 at Tai Wananga ki Ruakura, Hamilton.
Played for the New Zealand silver medal winning team at the 2018 FIBA U18 3×3 Asia Cup.
In 2019 she also played on the New Zealand team at the FIBA U17 Oceania Championships in New Caledonia where she led the New Zealand scoring at the championships averaging 12.4ppg.
Tara Manumaleuga (Junior at Texas Christian University)
Tara has transferred to Texas Christian after two years at the University of Arizona where she played 25 games for the Wildcats.
Brisbane educated, Tara averaged 12 points per game for New Zealand at the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup in Belarus.
Arizona Career – GP 25 GS 0 PPG 2.0 RPG 1.0
Helen Matthews (Sophomore at Wofford College)
Wofford College finished runners-up at the 2021 Southern Conference Tournament where Helen Matthews was named to the Conference All-Tournament First Team.
Scored a career high 16 points and also dished a career best 8 assists against UNC Greensboro. Averaged 21 minutes per game in her freshman season, scoring 8 points or more on 9 occasions.
Stats GP 23 GS 6 PPG 6.1 RPG 3.2
Lauryn Mapusua (Junior at Houston Baptist University)
Lauryn played two seasons at Hutchinson Community College followed by a year at Central Arkansas University (2020-21) during her freshman season and has transferred to Southern Baptist.
Played for New Zealand at the 2017 FIBA U18 Oceania Championships in Guam.
Stats GP 12 GS 3 PPG 0.8
Jess Moors (Freshman at Colorado State University)
The former Westlake Girls and North Harbour representative is playing at the same university as her brother James. Played on the Harbour Breeze 2020 NBL Championship winning team.
Jess played for New Zealand at the 2019 FIBA U17 Oceania Championships in New Caledonia.
Tsubasa Nisbet (Senior at Georgia Southern University)
Named co-captain of the Eagles for the 2021-22 season Tsubasa has played 60 games for Georgia Southern. Averaged 12 points and 6.2 rebounds for New Zealand at the 2017 FIBA U17 Oceania Championships in Guam.
Career GP 60 GS 16 PPG 2.3 RPG 2.1
Pareunora Pene (Senior at University of Tennessee Chattanooga)
Rotorua’s Pareunora Pene has played 50 games for the Mocs in her three-year career at Tennessee Chattanooga.
Career GP 50 GS 2 PPG 1.1 RPG 0.4
Akienne-Tera Reed (5th Year Senior at University of Southern California)
Tera sits third on the NZ all-time Women’s Division I points scoring list (1,466 points) behind Erin Rooney and Megan Complain. After an outstanding 4-year career at Virginia Commonwealth University Tera has transferred to USC where she will be a co-captain her final collegiate year. In the 2020-21 season averaged 11.5 points, 5 rebounds and a career high 3.7 assists per game. She led the team’s scoring in her first three years at VCU.
VCU Career GP 111 GS 107 PPG 13.2 RPG 4.7
Emme Shearer (Sophomore at University of Portland)
Emme Shearer, named to the WCC All-Freshman Team after finishing fourth on the team for scoring (6.5ppg) and third in steals (1.5spg) in 2020-21.
She played all 27 games for the Pilots getting a start on 14 occasions and averaging 20 minutes per game. Scored a season high 16 against St Mary’s.
Stats GP 27 GS 14 PPG 7.0 RPG 2.0
Kaylee Smiler (Junior at Brigham Young University)
A defensive spark off the bench Kaylee Smiler played 22 of 23 games for the BYU Cougars averaging 16 minutes per game in 2020-21.
The Cougars finished runners-up at the West Coast Conference Tournament, beaten on the buzzer by Gonzaga in the final.
Career GP 51 GS 0 PPG 2.4 RPG 1.4
Emilee Tahata (Freshman at La Salle University)
Emilee played for Brisbane Capitals in the 2021 NBL1 North competition prior to La Salle. Played for New Zealand at the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup in Belarus.
Jayzelee Waihi (Freshman at Wichita State University)
An outstanding junior player for Waikato and St Peter’s School, Cambridge. Was Named MVP at the 2019 U17 National Championships.
Amy West (Sophomore at St Mary’s College, California)
Spent her freshman year at Liberty University playing 20 games for the Flames. Amy started the 2020-21 season well averaging 9.3 points per game but missed the bulk of the campaign with a shoulder injury. Scored a season best 12 points on two occasions
Career GP 29 GS 7 PPG 3.6 RPG 4
Charlotte Whittaker (Redshirt Junior at University of Colorado)
Played all 20 games for the Buffaloes in 2020-21 averaging 14 minutes per game with a season best 11 points scored against Western Colorado.
Charlotte will sit out the 2021-22 season after undergoing hip surgery.
Career GP 50 GS 11 PPG 5.5 RPG 2.6
Olivia Williams (Freshman at University of California Irvine)
Attended Archbishop Mitty High School in San Francisco.
Olivia averaged 9ppg for New Zealand at the 2019 FIBA U17 Oceania Championships in New Caledonia.
Her great-grandfather Jack Sullivan was both an All Blacks player and coach.
NCAA Division II
Chanel Brodeur-Muir (Senior at St Thomas Aquinas College, New York)
Chanel played all 14 games for the Spartans last season, starting on 4 occasions.
She has totalled 47 games for St Thomas Aquinas.
Career GP 47 GS 4 PPG 1.8
Eva Langton (Senior at Texas A&M International)
The Opunake native was selected as Honourable Mention All-Lone Star Conference after averaging 8.5 points and 4.4 rebounds last season. Has made 40 appearances with 35 starts for the Dustdevils having previously played two years at Western Nebraska Community College.
Raquel Sampson (Freshman at Auburn University Montgomery)
Attended Sacred Heart Girls College, New Plymouth before Auburn.
The Taranaki forward was named to the 2020 Junior Tall Ferns. In 2019 averaged 15.3ppg for Taranaki Thunder.
Hannah Wentworth (Sophomore at Eckerd College)
Hannah played her freshman season at Utah State University Eastern where she played all 20 games with 3 starts averaging 9.4ppg.
Interestingly Eckerd College Tritons play their season opener against the Chile national team on November 3.
Career GP 21 GS 3 PPG 9.1
Tessa Talo-Tomokino (Sophomore at Northeastern State University)
Tessa started 12 of 22 games for the Riverhawks in 2020-21. Only played 16 minutes per game but led the team in FG% making 23 from 47 at 48%.
Career GP 22 GS 12 PPG 2.5
NCAA Division III
Rachel Pike (Freshman at University of Wisconsin Superior)
A Kapiti, Wellington and Paraparaumu College representative Pike, a power forward will study medicine. Played for Capital in the 2021 Sal’s NBL D League.
Katie Van Den Bogaert (Freshman at Whitworth University)
The 5’7” combo guard played at Middleton Grange School where she was head girl in 2020.
Also a Gators Club and Canterbury representative.
Canada Division I
Sofia Kennedy (Sophomore at University of Windsor)
All Canadian university basketball was cancelled in 2020-21 so former Middleton Grange and Canterbury representative will resume her collegiate career with15 games for the Lancers under her belt.
Career GP 15 GS 1
NAIA Division I
Dominique Stephens (Sophomore at Rocky Mountain College, Montana)
The daughter of former Tall Black Neill Stephens, Dominique is in her second season with the Battlin Bears.
Ella Bradley (Sophomore at Utah State Eastern)
The ever reliable former St Peter’s School Cambridge and Waikato forward played all 22 games last season for the Eagles, starting on all but one occasion. Expect Ella to be an ever-present again in 2021-22.
Career GP 22 GS 21 PPG 8.1 RPG 4.2
Rosie Campbell (Freshman at Southeast Community College)
Campbell played at Queen Margaret College, Wellington graduating in 2019.
Molly Cockburn (Sophomore at Miles Community College)
The Canterbury representative played 23 games for Miles last season as the Pioneers earned a place at the NJCAA Women’s National Championships last season. Elected President of the Student Senate for 2021-22 academic year.
Career GP 23 GS 1 PPG 2.9
Harata Coleman (Sophomore at Central Maine Community College)
The Manukura and Taranaki representative played her freshman season at Barton CC.
Will be one of three Kiwis in the Mustangs backcourt joining twins Safena and Leata Te Nana-Williams.
Career GP 7 GS 0
Izzy Cook (Sophomore at Western Nebraska Community College)
The former Opunake High and Taranaki standout played 21 games as the Cougars went all the way to the NJCAA (Junior College) Women’s National Championships last season.
GP 21 GS 0 PPG 3.1 RPG 3.6
Parehuia Delamere (Sophomore at Western Texas College)
Parehuia averaged 15 minutes per game in her freshman season – led the Westerners in steals averaging almost 2 per game.
Career GP 20 GS 6 PPG 3.5
Samantha Jenkins (Freshman at Dawson Community College)
Out of Nelson guard Samantha Jenkins played at Nayland College before transferring to Queen Margaret College, Wellington to conclude high school.
Jordyn Maddix (Sophomore at Western Texas College)
A teammate of Parehuia Jordyn played an almost identical number of minutes as her back court buddy Parehuia. Both will be looking to make a bigger impact in 2021-22.
Career GP 20 GS 3 PPG 4.0
Jenna Rose Mafua (Sophomore at Dodge City Community College)
Hutt Valley guard Jenna Rose played alongside sister Leah at Otero College in her freshman year.
Career PPG 3.8
Maclani Michael (Freshman at Utah State Eastern)
Out of Avondale College Michael was a Development Player with Auckland Dream in 2021.
Kyra Paniora (Freshman at College of Southern Idaho)
Queensland educated Paniora will look to build on a solid freshman season where she played 23 games for the Golden Eagles that went all the way to the NJCAA Women’s National Championships.
Career GP 23 GS 1 PPG 3.0
Kay-Hauata Phillips (Sophomore at Cloud Community College)
The Tauranga City Basketball forward received limited opportunities in her freshman year at Utah State Eastern so has transferred to Cloud CC for the 2021-22 season.
Career GP 12 GS 0 PPG 2.9
Brooklyn Pouwhare (Sophomore at Utah State Eastern)
The former Avonside Girls High forward played 20 games for the Eagles last season.
Career GP 20 GS 0 PPG 1.9 RPG 3.6
Briarley Rogers (Sophomore at Weatherford College)
The Tauranga City Basketball guard enjoyed a fruitful freshman season starting all 24 games for the Coyotes. Scored 187 points shooting the 3-ball at a heady 43.6% (34/78).
GP 24 GS 24 PPG 7.8
Waiaaria Rogers (Sophomore at Marshalltown College)
The former Rangitoto College guard started 5 of 15 games for Marshalltown last season.
Career 15 GS 5 PPG 4.0
Dejaan Schuler (Sophomore at Casper College)
Te Aroha’s Deejan Schuler played 22 games last season as the T Birds went all the way to the NJCAA Women’s National Championships.
Career GP 22 GS 0 PPG 1.8
Rashaan Smith (Sophomore at Western Nebraska College)
After getting little opportunity at Dawson College Rashaan has transferred to Western Nebraska for the 2021-22 season.
Career GP 17 GS 1 PPG 2.6
Te Araroa Sopoaga (Freshman at Cloud Community College)
Having spent 2020 at Otago University and played for the Otago Gold Rush the Queen Margaret College alumni has linked up with Kay-Hauata Phillips at Cloud CC.
Ashlee Strawbridge (Sophomore at College of Southern Idaho)
The Cantabrian forward played at the NJCAA Women’s National Championships last season. Played all 24 games for the Golden Eagles and finished second on the rebounding list averaging 6.2rpg.
Career GP 24 GS 12 PPG 5.9 RPG 6.2
Safena Te Nana-Williams (Freshman at Central Maine Community College)
Safena will play her freshman season alongside twin sister Leata at Central Maine just as the pair did, with great success at St Mary’s College, Ponsonby.
Leata Te Nana-Williams (Freshman at Central Maine Community College)
In addition to playing with sister Safena Te Nana-Williams will also have fellow kiwi Harata Coleman alongside her at Central Maine.
Yzabelle Tevao (Sophomore at McCook Community College)
The former Massey High School and Waitakere forward played her freshman season at Lake Region State College where she played 21 games for the Royals.
Career GP 21 GS 1 PPG 3.2
Keeley Tini (Sophomore at Williston State College)
Started all 24 games for Williston State last season leading the team in scoring (16.2ppg) and second in rebounding (6.5rpg).
Career 24 GS 24 PPG 16.2
Te Oriwa Tuipulotu (Freshman at Cloud Community College)
The freshman forward from Gisborne Girls High completed secondary school at Rotorua Girls High School.
Bree Trego (Freshman at University of Southern Nevada)
Played 16 games as a freshman at Miles CC but has now moved on to Southern Nevada.
Career GP 16 GS 0 PPG 1.4
*Note this list is of players known at the time of writing. It’s possible there may be some players absent from this list with players often moving, or travelling to the US without publicising their plans, or may yet to be announced by teams.
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