U16 Men’s head coach, Leyton Haddleton has today named his squad of 12 for the upcoming FIBA U16 Asian Championship in Doha this September.
The squad of 12 is: Jackson Ball, Ihaka Cate, Lachlan Crate, Gus Dallow, Oscar Goodman, Hayden Jones, Mana Martin, James Matthews, Troy Plumtree, Jameer Reed, Merrick Rillstone and Hunter Te Ratana.
In addition, six non-travelling reserves – who remain on standby for the squad of 12 in case of injury or unavailability – has been named as Gift Niyonzima, Harry Keighley, Krisnan-Cole Ioane, Ky-Mani Kaumoana, Dov Silberstein and Xavier Ah Tong.
The announcement follows the U16 Men’s Selection Camp back in April, where Coach Haddleton and his staff evaluated 25 athletes from across Aotearoa during a multi-day camp held in Auckland.
This squad of 12 sees nine athletes from the U15 men’s team – which earned silver at the FIBA U15 Oceania Championship – return to the fold, with Ball, Martin and Te Ratana the trio of newcomers who Haddleton will integrate into the squad.
Haddleton says the squad is excited to go to the Asian Champs, not just to compete but also to earn a spot at next year’s U17 World Cup in Turkey – given to the top four-placed teams.
“Any time you get to represent your country at any age level is an honour, and it’s also a huge challenge. The fact that we get together pretty late in the piece means that we’re relying on coaches around the country – who are all doing great work – to prepare our athletes as best they can, so they can gel together and just compete,” says Haddleton.
“So we’re always appreciative of anyone who worked with our athletes leading up to this. And seeing the U16 girls qualify through their age group in Jordan earlier this month was inspirational for us at well – of course we want to emulate what they’ve done.”
Haddleton is pleased with the look of his squad this year, not just for the high number of returnees from his U15 team in 2022 – but also the development shown by others to earn a squad selection.
“Last year in Guam [at the U15 Oceania Champs] we had a really united team, and I said to them before the final ‘this is the last actual time this group will be together in its entirety’. That’s due to a range of factors, from coaching staff changes to players growing and improving at different rates.
“And that proved to be true, so while we’ve got our core bunch back from last year, we’ve also got a few new faces which is really exciting. It’s great to see guys like Jackson Ball, Mana Martin and Hunter Te Ratana – who were all reserves last year – joining us, they’ve each really developed over the past year and pushed hard to earn their selection in the team.
“It’s really rewarding to see these kids go away, take on the feedback we gave them and work on their game – then return to the programme more ready to compete.”
The FIBA U16 Men’s Asia Championships are being held in Doha, Qatar from 17-24 September 2023 with a tournament draw to follow shortly. All games will be broadcast live on youtube.com/fiba
U16 Men’s Squad, FIBA U16 Asian Championship
Jackson Ball, Basketball Hawkes Bay
Ihaka Cate, Canterbury Basketball
Lachlan Crate, Basketball Manawatu
Gus Dallow, Harbour Basketball Association
Oscar Goodman, Basketball Taranaki
Hayden Jones, Nelson Basketball Association
Mana Martin, Canterbury Basketball
James Matthews, Nelson Basketball Association
Troy Plumtree, Wellington Basketball Association
Jameer Reed, Harbour Basketball Association
Merrick Rillstone, Waikato Basketball
Hunter Te Ratana, Counties Manukau
Non-Traveling Reserves, FIBA U16 Asian Championship
Gift Niyonzima, Basketball Manawatu
Harry Keighley, Basketball Hawkes Bay
Krisnan-Cole Ioane, Basketball Hutt Valley
Ky-Mani Kaumoana, Tauranga City Basketball Association
Dov Silberstein, Wellington Basketball Association
Xavier Ah Tong, Outside of New Zealand