Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) is pleased to announce the 3×3 Tall Blacks and 3×3 Tall Ferns squads that will travel to Singapore at the end of March for the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup.
The 3×3 Tall Ferns squad will include: Lauryn Hippolite, Krystal Leger-Walker, Esra McGoldrick and Sharne Pupuke-Robati. With 3×3 Tall Ferns head coach Justine Reed unavailable for this tournament, the team will be coached by Anthony Corban.
The 3×3 Tall Blacks squad is comprised of: Dom Kelman-Poto, Chris McIntosh, Richie Rodger and Tai Wynyard. The team will be led by 3×3 Tall Blacks head coach, Piet Van Hasselt. Kat Jones will also travel to Singapore as the Team Manager for both squads.
In addition, Rosalia Samia and Azure Anderson have been named as non-travelling Reserves for the 3×3 Tall Ferns, while Zac Easthope and Pafe Momoisea will be non-travelling Reserves for the 3×3 Tall Blacks.
First held in 2013, the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup is the top basketball tournament in Asia for 3×3 national teams. This is the sixth iteration of the event and the fifth time that New Zealand has competed in it; the Tall Ferns winning the 3×3 Asia Cup in 2018 and the Tall Blacks finishing second in both 2017 and 2022.
Both New Zealand teams will enter the 3×3 Asia Cup via the qualifying draw process, which means they will need to finish top of their qualifying draw pool in order to reach the Asia Cup proper. For the 3×3 Tall Blacks, they will need to win their pool that includes Tonga, Republic of Korea and Turkmenistan, while the 3×3 Tall Ferns will face Tahiti, India, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong.
Kelman-Poto and Wynyard are each experienced 3×3 Tall Blacks, having appeared at both the FIBA 3×3 World Cup and Commonwealth Games last year – Rodger joining the squad for the latter in his 3×3 Tall Blacks debut. Kelman-Poto is the sole returnee from the team that claimed Silver at last year’s FIBA Asia Cup, while McIntosh makes his 3×3 Tall Blacks debut after competing in the FIBA World Tour Manila Masters tournament last May.
In McGoldrick and Robati, the 3×3 Tall Ferns features two athletes who appeared in the FIBA 3×3 World Cup Qualifier games last year, with key player Ella Fotu forced to withdraw from contention due to injury. In searching for a high-level replacement for Fotu, the squad has been fortunate to have Leger-Walker put her hand up to play; she joins another talented guard – and fellow 5 on 5 Tall Fern – in Hippolite as two athletes players set to make their 3×3 Tall Ferns debut.
Leger-Walker, an experienced Tall Fern in the 5 on 5 setting, says that representing New Zealand in 3×3 basketball for the first time is special.
“Every time you put on the black singlet and play for New Zealand, it’s a real honour regardless of the stage, level of competition or location,” says Leger-Walker.
“3×3 is definitely a whole different game. I played 3×3 for NZ at the U18 level, before I went to college in the US for four years, so this is the first time post-College that I’ll be playing 3×3. I’m excited to see how our team goes and I can’t wait to get stuck in – for me, being a small guard and playing fast means that 3×3 should suit my style of play.”
Coming from a basketball family – with mother Leanne an experienced Tall Fern and two-time Olympian, while sister Charlisse recently led her Washington State team to a Pac-12 title in the NCAA – Krystal reveals that her grandmother also had an immense impact on her basketball success.
“I think all of us being involved in the game has made us competitive, competing against and training with each other all the time. Being the eldest sister, I tend to play and lead that way – I tend to be outspoken and I lead my example on the court.
“I lost my grandmother earlier this year and so every game I play in this year will be dedicated to her and her memory. She was a massive influence on me and both my sisters; she was like our second mum and last year she made the trip over to the States to watch Charlisse and I play in the college basketball scene – it’s a special memory that we’ll hold dear to us.”
Krystal says there is one team she is particularly looking forward to playing against at the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup.
“I’m looking forward to facing Australia, as obviously we have a big rivalry with them and beating a team of that quality would be massive for New Zealand. We’re not going to back down from any teams, and I love that we’ll be able to shock a few countries by playing small and fast – we just need to bring our best game each time to have a chance to win.”
The 3×3 Tall Blacks and 3×3 Tall Ferns will travel to the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup in Singapore from 29 March – 2 April. Keep updated at nz.basketball and watch all games live at www.youtube.com/@FIBA3x3
3×3 Tall Ferns – 3×3 Asia Cup 2023
Lauryn Hippolite, Mainland Pouakai
Krystal Leger-Walker, Townsville Fire
Rosalia Samia (Non-travelling Reserve)
Azure Anderson (Non-travelling Reserve)
3×3 Tall Blacks – 3×3 Asia Cup 2023
Chris McIntosh, Auckland Tuatara
Richie Rodger, Taranaki Airs
Zac Easthope (Non-travelling Reserve)
Pafe Momoisea (Non-travelling Reserve)
Women’s Qualifying Draw A (all times NZT)
> 29 March, 4:50 PM, New Zealand vs Tahiti
> 29 March, 11:30 PM, India vs New Zealand
> 30 March, 11:30 PM, New Zealand vs Sri Lanka
> 31 March, 1.10 AM, Hong Kong vs New Zealand
Men’s Qualifying Draw B (all times NZT)
> 29 March, 5:40 PM, New Zealand vs Tonga
> 30 March, 6:05 PM, New Zealand vs Republic of Korea
> 31 March, 12:45 AM, Turkmenistan vs New Zealand