The highly anticipated FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Draw has concluded in Manila overnight, with all 32 nations – including New Zealand – now aware of who they will face at the flagship event, which takes place from August 25 to September 10 in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.
The Tall Blacks have been placed into Group C for the First Round, where they will face the United States, Jordan and Greece (in that order) for the 19th edition of this prestigious tournament. Group C will be based in the Philippines for the duration of the First Round, with their games being played at the Mall of Asia Arena – a 15,000 seater indoor arena located in Bay City, Pasay in Metro Manila.
Held at the Araneta Coliseum in the Philippines capital, the World Cup draw proved to be a spectacular event, with Argentina legend and FIBA World Cup 2023 Global Ambassador, Luis Scola, on stage to assist with the draw alongside fellow basketball icon Dirk Nowitzki.
Also in attendance was Basketball New Zealand’s (BBNZ) Chief Executive, Dillon Boucher as New Zealand’s representative. Boucher himself attended two FIBA World Cups in 2002 and 2006 as an athlete, famously teaming up with current Tall Blacks head coach Pero Cameron to finish in fourth place in 2002 in Indianapolis.
“Jordan is a familiar foe for us [from World Cup Qualifier play], while USA is arguably the most talented team in the world and Greece is led by possibly the best player in the world in Giannis [Antetokounmpo]. We know we’ve got our work cut out for us but we accept and embrace the challenge,” says Boucher.
“As a player you always want to be challenged by the best teams and we know Greece and USA especially will give us that test in the first round. And Manila is a fantastic base to play from with passionate fans and a great arena, so the atmosphere is going to be incredible.”
Boucher says that work will continue over the next few months to finalise the squad of 12 that travels to Manila for the First Round of the FIBA World Cup.
“It’ll now be up to Coach Pero [Cameron] to assemble the best Tall Blacks squad possible to face these teams and battle their way into the second round. We’ve got some quality players – many who have shown their talent during the World Cup Qualifier games over the past 18 months – to choose from, so it’ll be exciting to see the final squad that represents New Zealand on basketball’s biggest stage.”
The full schedule for the First Round of the FIBA World Cup will be released shortly.
About the FIBA World Cup
First held in 1950, the FIBA Basketball World Cup – formally known as the FIFA World Championship – is held every four years, making this the nineteenth edition of the FIBA World Cup in 2023.
This year’s tournament is being co-hosted by three nations in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia from 5 August to 10 September 2023. The tournament will also serve as qualification for the 2024 Summer Olympics, where the top two teams from each of the Americas and Europe, and the top team from each of Africa, Asia and Oceania, will qualify alongside the tournament’s host France.
32 teams will be competing for the Naismith Trophy, named in honour of basketball’s inventor, James Naismith. Find out more at: www.fiba.basketball/basketballworldcup/2023