This is it! The last article in our Kiwi Ballers Worldwide series, which explores the myriad of basketball pathways that Kiwis choose to pursue around the world.
Over the past few months we’ve covered New Zealand basketballers in action from all corners of the globe, from NCAA Division I in the US to those athletes plying their trade in the Australian Leagues this season. In our final installment, we look at a number of high-profile Kiwi athletes who are playing in the major professional leagues outside of Australasia; from the NBA to Europe and Japan.
Steven Adams – Memphis Grizzlies, NBA
New Zealand’s most famous basketball player is in his tenth season in the NBA, since being selected as the 12th overall pick by Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2013 NBA Draft. Adams played seven solid seasons with the Thunder, then spent a season with the New Orleans Pelicans before joining the Memphis Grizzlies in 2021 – where he is now in his 2nd season alongside superstar Ja Morant.
Known as one of the toughest players in the NBA, Adams holds career averages of 9.2 points and 8.1 rebound; this season is averaging a career-high 10.5 rebounds in only 26.7 minutes per game. Known as one of the most dominant offensive rebounders in NBA history, 45% of Steven Adams’ career rebounds have been offensive rebounds – the highest percentage of any player in NBA history with 5,000 boards or more.
Originally from Rotorua, Adams moved to Wellington to train under the late Kenny McFadden. After graduating from Scots College in 2011, he enrolled at Notre Dame Prep School – before accepting a scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh where he played one season with the Panthers. Adams also played one season in the NZ NBL, winning a championship with the Wellington Saints in 2011.
Yuat Alok – Enosis Neon Paralimni, Cyprus League
Alok is currently playing in the Cyprus League for the Enosis Neon Paralimni club, with the 6’11” forward averaging 11ppg and 5.4 rebounds this season.
A Breakers Development player in 2014-15 while at Rangitoto College, Alok went to the United States for his final high school year. He has attended a number of American universities including Texas Christian, Coppin State and finally New Mexico State for his senior year in 2021-22.
Akiene-Tera Reed – Pyrinto, Finland-Korisliiga
Off the back of an outstanding NCAA collegiate career, Reed returned to her roots for her first foray in professional hoops – playing for Northern Kāhu in the inaugural Tauihi season. She is current playing for Pyrinto in the Finland-Korisliiga league, averaging 19.2ppg and 8.2 rebounds over 14 impressive games.
Coming out of Westlake Girls High School, Reed moved to the States for her last two high school years. She then accepted a four-year scholarship at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), leading them in scoring for three seasons running and playing a key role in VCU winning an Atlantic 10 Championship – and with it a berth at the 2020-21 NCAA Tournament. Reed then played her fifth and final college season at the University of Southern California. In total, Reed played 135 NCAA Division I games – amassing 1,624 points, just 24 points shy of eclipsing Erin Rooney’s all-time record by a Kiwi of 1,647 points.
Jillian Harmon – Basket-Landes, Euroleague Women
Harmon currently plays for Basket-Landes in the Euroleague Women competition, averaging 6ppg and 5.5 rebounds – with the latter mark leading the team. A Tall Ferns veteran with 60 national team appearances to her name, Harmon most recently played 3×3 for New Zealand at both the FIBA 3X3 World Cup and Commonwealth Games – those 3×3 commitments restricting her to just one game for Southern Hoiho in the inaugural Tauihi season.
An Olympian in 2008, she has claimed silverware in five countries – and on three continents – dating back to her standout collegiate career at Stanford University where she played 136 games over four years for the Cardinals, winning three Pac-12 titles. She then went on to play 11 years in Italy, winning numerous titles after first appearing in the Serie A in 2009. Harmon came ‘Down Under’ in 2014-15, playing a season with Micaela Cocks at Townsville Fire followed by a WBC campaign with Otago Gold Rush – winning a championship with both teams.
Finn Delany – Baskets Bonn, German National League
Following seven seasons with the New Zealand Breakers in the Aussie NBL, Delany is playing his first season overseas for Baskets Bonn in the German National League, where he averages 9.7ppg and 4 rebounds as a starter – his team currently 9-1 in the standings and in first place.
Delany first made his mark in senior basketball in 2013, debuting for Nelson Giants in the NZ National Basketball League as a 17 year old whilst in his last year at Nelson College. After graduating from College, Delany had a short stint at Southwest Baptist University, Missouri before returning to the Giants for a further four seasons. A decorated Tall Black with 38 appearances to his name, Delany was a member of the bronze medal-winning team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and also played at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. He last donned the black singlet in the Tall Blacks win over Philippines at home on 30 June this year; his Player of the Game effort including 14 points and seven rebounds in just 19 minutes of play.
Takiula “Taki” Fahrensohn – Jena City, German ProA League
Fahrensohn currently suits up for Medipolis SC Jena in the German ProA League, his 2nd season in Germany after playing for Ehingen club in 2021-22. In the NZ NBL he played for the Auckland Huskies in 2021 and the Auckland Tuatara in 2022 – averaging 14ppg and 5.2 rebounds this past season.
Prior to his professional career, Fahrensohn played NCAA Division I at the University of Portland, racking up 61 games for the Pilots. He has also played 12 games for the Tall Blacks since debuting earlier in 2022, including an impressive 7-game run at the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup; he was the team’s second-leading scorer with 11.7ppg.
Matt Freeman – Eisbaeren Bremerhaven, German ProA League
Freeman has spent the past three seasons playing in the German ProA League – currently playing for Eisbaeren Bremerhaven, having previously suited up for Trier where he averaged 11.8ppg in the 2020/21 season.
After graduating from Westlake Boys High School, Freeman played three-years at the University of Oklahoma Sooners – before switching to University of California Santa Barbara for his senior year (2019-20), playing in 115 NCAA Division I games in total. Freeman also won gold for New Zealand at the FIBA 3×3 U18 World Cup in 2015, playing alongside Tai Wynyard, Sam Timmins and Nikau McCullough.
Wetzell currently plays in Germany for ALBA Berlin, where he has averaged 5ppg and 3 rebounds over 11 games for the second-ranked Alba (9-1). He has previously played in the Australian NBL, for both the South East Melbourne Phoenix and the New Zealand Breakers – averaging 17.7ppg and 8.5 rebounds over 22 games, earning him a nomination for Most Improved Player in the Aussie NBL.
After graduating from Westlake Boys High School Wetzell spent two years playing NCAA Division II basketball at St Mary’s, Texas where in 2016 he was named Heartland Conference Freshman of the Year. He then went on to play NCAA Division I basketball at Vanderbilt University for his junior year and then at San Diego State University for his senior year.
Gracie Roberts-Hare – Triple Threat, Dutch League
In her fourth season in Holland, Roberts-Hare is playing for the Triple Threat club after three previous campaigns with Lekdetec. She is averaging 6ppg and 3.5 rebounds over 10 games this season.
After graduating from Waimea College in Nelson, the former Junior Tall Fern spent four years in the American collegiate system. She initially played junior college in Northern Idaho followed by two years at the University of Detroit Mercy (NCAA Division I). This was followed by her senior year at the University of Charleston, where she averaged 7.4ppg and led the team in assists with 5 per game.
Isaac Fotu – Tochigi Brex, Japan B1 League
After his junior career with Rangitoto College and Harbour Basketball, Fotu played a season with the New Zealand Breakers as a Development Player before his three years at the University of Hawaii.
He has since spent his professional career playing in Spain, Germany, Italy and currently Japan – where he plays for Tochigi Brex, winning a Japanese League championship in 2022. In two seasons with Brex, Fotu has averaged 13.8ppg and 6.2 rebounds over 77 games while shooting 58% from the field; this season he’s the team’s leading scorer with 14ppg. Fotu has also played 65 games for the Tall Blacks since debuting in 2011; he played at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain and the 2019 edition in China where he averaged 18.4 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. More recently he suited up for the Tall Blacks against Saudi Arabia, registering 12 points and 7 rebounds in the 80-65 win.
Shane Temara – Soleuvre Belvaux, Luxembourg-LBBL
Temara currently plays with Soleuvre Belvaux in Luxembourg, averaging 16.5ppg and 7 rebounds – including a 30 point, 11 rebound outing in the third round of the season. In addition to playing stints in in Germany and Norway, he has also played the past two seasons in the NZ NBL for Manawatu Jets after previous spells with Wellington Saints and Taranaki Airs. Born and raised in New York, the 6’9” Temara graduated from the University of North Texas in 2018, where he played 59 games for the Mean Green over two seasons.
Zoe Richards – AB Contern, Luxembourg
Richards is currently she is playing for AB Contern in Luxembourg, where she is averaging 11.4ppg, 9.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals over 11 games – ranking 2nd on the team in all three categories for the first-placed Contern team (9-2). She also played in all 12 games for Southern Hoiho in the inaugural Tauihi season, averaging 7.3ppg and 5.5 rebounds.
Following high school at St Hilda’s College in Dunedin, Richards spent a season (2016-17) at Gillette College playing alongside twin sister Brittany. She then played three seasons at Eckerd College (NCAA Division II) helping the Tritons win the Sunshine State Conference title in her senior year. She played all 91 games for the Tritons in her three years on the team, amassing 982 points and 430 rebounds. Richards debuted for the Tall Ferns at the 2019 William Jones Cup, and has since played 10 games in the black singlet.
Tai Webster – Petkim, Turkey
Webster played six games for the New Zealand Breakers in 2012 -13 and a full season with Waikato Pistons in 2013, before embarking on his college career at Nebraska University – scoring 1,116 points in 124 games for the Cornhuskers, the second-highest number of NCAA Division I points ever by a Kiwi. In 2017 he played five games for the Golden State Warriors at the NBA Summer League, before signing a professional contract to play for Fraport Skyliners in Germany.
Currently in his third season playing in Turkey – scoring 8.3ppg and 2.4 assists over 10 games for Petkim – Webster has also played in Lithuania and for the NZ Breakers in the 2020-21 season. He first debuted for the Tall Blacks in 2012, and averaged 13.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China – third in scoring and second in assists for the Tall Blacks at that tournament. It was his second World Cup after also playing at the 2014 event in Spain.
Check out other articles in our ‘Kiwi Ballers Worldwide’ series:
– Australia Professional Leagues (men’s & women’s)
– US High School (men’s & women’s)
– Junior College (men’s & women’s)
– NAIA, NCAA Division II & III, Canadian Universities (men’s)
– NAIA, NCAA Division II & III, Canadian Universities (women’s)