25 teams and over 250 young athletes will converge on Rangiora’s MainPower Stadium over Queens Birthday Weekend, for the Aon Under 19 Nationals.
The Aon U19 Nationals brings together some of New Zealand’s top junior basketball talent over four exciting days, with players representing their region and contending for the men’s and women’s championship titles. The Men’s tournament is broken down into 15 teams spread across four pools, while the Women’s tournament features two pools with five teams in each.
This is the first-ever national tournament to be hosted by the North Canterbury Basketball Association, and is arguably the biggest event yet for MainPower Stadium – Rangiora’s new top-class venue which opened last July.
The tournament will also be screened on YouTube at www.youtube.com/maoritelevision
Josh Book, who was Tournament MVP of last years’ Aon Under 19 Nationals after leading his Canterbury Men’s side to a Finals win over Wellington, says that it’s great to have the tournament held in his Canterbury ‘backyard’ this year.
“It will be really exciting to have friends and family there to watch. Hopefully it can build a good atmosphere for us and really strengthen the basketball community in Canterbury,” says Book.
“We have five players returning from last year and five new players added; some are from up north who are here for University, so I’m exciting about our chances of repeating this year.”
Book – who also plays for the Canterbury Rams in the Sal’s NBL – says that the U19 Nationals also gives him a chance to him to go up against his peers.
“It’s great to play with and against other players in your age group, just to see where you’re at with your basketball compared to your peers. And it’s also about your city or region in comparison to others too; you’ve got that friendly rivalry and hometown pride going on.”
Breeje Schuler won Tournament MVP for Waikato in the Women’s Competition, and sees a challenge in travelling to Rangiora with a relatively new set of teammates.
“We have a pretty fresh team this year, I think it’s just Amber [Waretini] and myself returning – so it’s a young squad who are excited to be heading to U19 Nationals,” says Schuler.
“We’ll also be running quite small in size this time around – but the guards we have are pretty good and most of them are looking to land a spot in the junior Tall Ferns team. Overall I think we have a pretty solid squad and we’ve got high hopes of going far.”
Schuler says the Aon U19 Nationals also provides female athletes the chance to be seen by national team selectors, which is important for players looking to make a career out of basketball.
“It’s a great chance to be seen; the coaches for the U19 National team will be there, so I’m sure all the girls will be looking to play their best games – to catch the eye of the Tall Ferns and NBL selectors in the process.”
The Aon Under 19 Nationals tips off from 4-7 June at MainPower Stadium in Rangiora.
- The Aon Under 19 Nationals will be held at Rangiora’s MainPower Stadium, over four days from 4-7 June 2022
- View the full draw at https://tinyurl.com/2p9z574r
- Spectators are encouraged to attend; entry to MainPower Stadium, Rangiora is free and the on-site café will be open
- You can watch selected games (for days 3 and 4 only) online via nz.basketball/tv
- Follow live scores and standings for this tournament by downloading the GameDay App.
POOL A: Canterbury A, Waikato B, Canterbury B
POOL B: Porirua, Auckland, Tauranga, North Canterbury
POOL C: Harbour, Franklin, Southland, Hutt Valley
POOL D: Otago, Taranaki, Manawatu, Wellington
POOL A: Waikato, Manawatu, Otago, Counties Manawatu, North Canterbury
POOL B: Canterbury, Harbour, Wellington, Auckland, Waitakere West