Kruz Perrott-Hunt has become the latest young Kiwi to secure an NCAA Division I University basketball scholarship.

In the same week he was named in the Tall Blacks squad for the next FIBA World Cup Qualifying window, the Rosmini College guard has committed to the University of South Dakota (USD) under the tutorage of Head Coach Todd Lee. The Coyotes play in the Summit League Conference and also have Brad Davidson on their coaching staff.

Davidson will be well known to basketball fans that follow the Australian National Basketball League. The shooting guard played 13 years in the NBL League and ranks as one of the all-time best shooters with a 40.1 percent career mark from long range. He made more than 600 3-point baskets during his career.

Davidson’s presence on the coaching staff was just one of the reasons Kruz has committed to USD.

“Coach Davidson was a terrific shooter and I’m sure his knowledge will help me refine my shooting game. On my visit to USD I was really impressed with the coaching set-up, the facilities and the atmosphere around the team and the campus.

“I think it will be an ideal environment for me to pursue my academic studies as well as develop as a player.

“I’m looking forward to joining my Coyote teammates in 2019 and wish them well for the current season,” said Kruz.

He has achieved a great deal in his burgeoning basketball career but he says none of it would have been possible without the support of his parents Angela and Matt, as well as the many coaches that have helped him on his journey to date.

“I have been fortunate to have been able to learn from so many good coaches during the last few years whether at school, for North Harbour or undertaking individual training. Many people have helped me to this point, but in particular I want to thank Dave Mackay, Tony Pompallier, Mike Fitchett, Alex Stojkovic and Matt Lacey for the countless hours they have spent helping me achieve my goals,” said Kruz.

Long time coach, mentor and friend Dave Mackay has witnessed first-hand the growth of Kruz as a player and person.

“It is extremely pleasing to see Kruz take this next step in his basketball journey. Having coached and mentored Kruz since he was 11, he has always strived to play college basketball and this year in particular he has really excelled his game. South Dakota is a great fit for him, somewhere I believe he will get to play and make an instant impact. Having Brad Davidson as the Assistant Coach is a real bonus and someone I believe will assist him in furthering his game, in particular his shooting ability,” said Mackay.

The announcement caps an outstanding year in which the 17-year old (he turns 18 later this month) has earned a Tall Blacks call-up, a silver medal at the FIBA Asia Cup, a SKYCITY Breakers Development Players spot and an invitation to the Nike Asia Camp in China where he received the Best Defensive Player award.

In addition he capped off a stellar high school career by captaining Rosmini College, as they became back-to-back Schick Secondary Schools National Champions.

Kruz was called into the Tall Blacks training squad ahead of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers against Hong Kong and China in June. He has again received the nod from coach Paul Henare ahead of the upcoming Qualifiers against Jordan in Christchurch on 29 November and Syria in Wellington on 2 December.

Kruz was a key player for New Zealand at the U18 Asia Cup in August in Thailand where the Kiwis finished second behind Australia to earn them a trip to the FIBA U19 World Cup next year. He averaged 13.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game during the tournament.

The 190cm combo-guard capped off his five-year premier team career at Rosmini by leading his team in its defence of the National Championship title last month. Selected to the National Championship Tournament Team for a third successive year, Kruz was within a whisker of a triple-double in the Final against St Pat’s producing 29 points, 11 rebounds and 9 steals in a commanding performance.

A North Harbour player throughout his representative career he was also named to the Tournament Team at the U19 National Championships back in June.

Despite missing a significant number of days at school this year due to his basketball commitments the year 13 student has passed NCEA Level 3 and also received the top Maori Student Award at Rosmini College.

Kruz is from an accomplished basketball family with mum Angela a well-respected schools and representative coach, and sister Georgia on a basketball scholarship at Tiffin University in Ohio.