Earlier this year Basketball New Zealand was forced to cancel their April age-group selection camp due to COVID-19. Now that Alert Levels are decreasing, New Zealand’s latest wave of gifted basketballers are coming together in Auckland in December to restart their development in the black singlet.
The camp will host rising basketballers in the Under 15 and Under 19 age groups. It will be held at St Kentigern College. The girls’ camp will be held 11- 13 December; the boys’ camp is on 14 – 16 December.
Participants are eligible for Basketball New Zealand camps if they are registered members of member Associations and are planning to compete at the Aon National Championships. The Aon U15 and U17 National Championships will be player on Labour Weekend next month. Associations are currently submitting talent identification lists (due Friday 9 October). From there, the names on those lists are assessed by a group of selectors during the U15 and U17 Aon Nationals. A final talent camp list is then complied and invitations are sent out.
Usually U17 and U19 age-group squads will play in a three-year cycle, which revolves around the International Basketball Federation’s (FIBA) calendar: FIBA Oceania Championships (year one), FIBA Asian Championships (year two), FIBA World Cup (year three). But, the Junior Tall Blacks and Junior Tall Ferns (U19s) have seen disruption in their three-year age-group cycles. Next year, the FIBA Under 19 World Cup is supposed to be played, but qualification for that is still unclear due to the suspension of the 2020 FIBA U18 Asian Championships – the qualifying events for the World Cup.
Basketball New Zealand High Performance Manager Leonard King says that now Alert Level restrictions are decreasing in New Zealand, they are looking to proceed and offer preparation camps despite the global uncertainty.
“2020 has been such a challenging year for most people, but I keep hearing positive stories from players, families and coaches about how much these young people have improved this year, and that they are really looking forward to having a chance to represent New Zealand again.
“We are really excited about this camp. They are lots of fun for the players that attend, and they also learn a lot and get a chance to compete against each other – it’s inspiring to see how much these young Kiwi basketballers support each other to get better. They really listen and give everything at these camps. It’s not only the athletes either, but we also bring in coaches from around New Zealand and see this as a development opportunity for them also.
“We are committed to helping our junior athletes thrive in the sport of basketball and providing this camp at the end of this year will be a really positive, proactive and rewarding way to cap off 2020.”
During the camp, athletes will be put through various physical tests and skill-based drills, as well as off-court seminars in relation to team culture and player responsibility. King says attendees will get an insight into what it takes to compete with the very best, both locally and abroad.
“The December camps will be designed to tick different boxes. Firstly, we want to continue to build the momentum with preparing our Junior National teams for the rigours of international competition.
“In order to consistently achieve at the highest levels, you need to consistently expose athletes to challenging and difficult environments. The All New Zealand camps require our players to adjust and adapt on the fly, and teach them how to handle any situation they may face internationally.
“We’re also wanting to acknowledge athletes who have improved over the course of the year. The last National camp was held in February, which was 10 months ago – that’s a long time in the junior development space. Some players have gotten much better over that period and we want to reward them for their improvement.
“Lastly, the camps will continue to expose players to our National Style of Play. We will continue to provide opportunities for developing players to compete against high-quality opposition in a high-quality environment,” says King.
- Name: All New Zealand Talent Camp
- Age groups: U19 (athletes born 2002 – 2003) and U15 (athletes born 2005-2006)
- Dates: 11-13 December – U15 Girls and Junior Tall Ferns | 14-16 December – U15 Boys and Junior Tall Blacks
More on the Basketball New Zealand age-group pathway can be found here: https://nz.basketball/national-teams/representative-pathway/
U17s: The Under 17 camps will be schedule for 2021 and announced later date. This age-group will see a new intake of players to begin a new three cycle with the target events being the FIBA Oceania Championships (2021), the FIBA Asian Championships (2022) and the FIBA World Cup (2023).