As we continue our exploration of the pathways that young Kiwi players pursue around the world – following their NZ high school and local association representative basketball – we next focus on the Kiwis who have signed on at US High Schools for the 2022/23 season.
There are currently 16 men and 1 women on the roster for US high schools, including a quartet of boys at the prestigious Oak Hill Academy in Virginia; this school famous for the NBA players who have walked through its doors, including Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony.
Oak Hill Academy, Virginia
Nic Book – Oak Hill Academy
Book was New Zealand’s leading scorer(12.6ppg) and rebounder (8.6rpg) at the 2022 FIBA U17 World Cup in Spain. He also helped Canterbury to the 2021 U17 National Championship, and was named to the Tournament Team. His father Ed was a Tall Black and mum Lisa a former Junior Tall Fern, while sister Amiee (Fresno State University) and brother Josh (Missouri Western State University) are on basketball scholarships in the States.
Dontae Russo-Nance – Oak Hill Academy
A combo guard out of St Kentigern College and Waitakere West Basketball, Russo-Nance was named 2022 Youth Player of the Year in the Sal’s NBL, after averaging 15.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game for Auckland Tuatara. In March 2022 he received an NBA Global Academy invite, spending a week at the AIS in Canberra. In 2019, Russo-Nance was named MVP at the 2019 Aon U17 National Championships, as Waitakere West Auckland claimed the title – he was also named to the U17 Tournament Team at both the 2020 and 2021 championships.
Tautoko Wynyard – Oak Hill Academy
The leading scorer for Rangitoto College in their 2022 Auckland Premier Grade season, Wynyard was also a squad member of the Auckland Tuatara. He is the brother of Tall Black and Taranaki Airs centre Tai Wynyard.
Bronson Schmidt-Uili – Oak Hill Academy
Schmidt-Uili hails from St Pat’s College Silverstream and Wellington Basketball.
St Mary’s Ryken, Maryland
Viliami Masila – St Mary’s Ryken
Masila is a product of Wellington Basketball and Scots College.
Tomasi Pavihi – St Mary’s Ryken
Pavihi, who comes from Wellington and St Pat’s College Silverstream, will spend his final year at high school at St Mary’s Ryken.
American Heritage High School, Utah
Azra Waihi – American Heritage High School
Waihi attended Fraser High School in Hamilton before heading to Utah.
Niwhai Winitana – American Heritage High School
Niwhai is the son of former Tall Black, Paora Winitana.
Other US High Schools
Jed Barlow – Busche Academy, New Hampshire
Barlow played for Rangitoto College at Secondary Schools Nationals and Harbour Basketball at the U17 Nationals in 2022.
Kaia Berridge – Archbishop Riordan High School, San Francisco
Out of Tauranga Basketball and Mount Maunganui College, Berridge played for New Zealand at both the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup and U17 World Cup in Spain. He also attended the 2022 NBA Basketball Without Borders Camp in Canberra, making the All-Star Team.
Isaiah Chappell – Crossroads High School, Santa Monica, California
The 6’9” forward, born in New Zealand, is the son of former New Zealand Breakers import Mike Chappell.
Zach Hannen – International Sports Academy, Cleveland
Hailing from Middleton Grange High School, Hannen has worked his way through the Canterbury age-group system. A member of the 2021 U19 National Championship-winning team, he went on to play eight games for the Canterbury Rams in the 2021 NBL season.
Troy Nickel – Mount Carmel, Baltimore
Hailing from Scots College, Nickel played for Wellington at the 2021 U17 National Championships.
Shawnessy Nordstrom – Lone Peak High School, Utah
The only female on this list, Nordstrom was named MVP at the 2019 U15 National Championships, leading Waikato to the National title. Now living in Utah with her family, Nordstrom is the starting point guard for Lone Peak High School (ranked 14th in the nation) and the 17U Colorado Premier team that competes in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. She is the niece of former Tall Fern, Noni Wharemate.
Kahu Treacher – St Albans School, Washington DC
Treacher is formerly a student at Hastings Boys High School and Auckland Grammar School.
Denim Tuala-Fata – St Thomas Moore High School
Tuala-Fata hails from Palmerston North Boys High School.
Cory Lovell – College Prep Academy, Italy
From Hutt International High School, Lovell is treading a path unique to New Zealand high school players. The 6’9” forward has headed to Europe to attend College Prep Academy in Italy. He was one of only two Development Players on the 2022 Wellington Saints roster.
*Note this list is of players known at the time of writing. It’s possible there may be some players absent from this list (or returned to NZ) with players often moving, or travelling without publicising their plans.