NZ U17 Men’s National Team Finishes 4th Overall At U17 World Cup

The NZ U17 Men’s National team’s bid to become the first New Zealand team to medal at a FIBA World Cup, was undone by the host nation – as Turkey won the bronze medal game 101-78 in Istanbul on Sunday evening local time.

Despite the loss, the NZ U17 team have become the first-ever New Zealand team to make it to the semi-finals of a FIBA age-group World Cup. In addition, the U17 squad has also emulated the achievement of the Tall Blacks team that finished fourth at the 2002 FIBA World Championships at Indianapolis.

In addition, both the teams have had a member of the Jones family playing a leading role. In 2002 it was New Zealand Hall of Famer Phill Jones and 22 years later his son Hayden Jones has been a key member this U17 Men’s National team.

In the bronze medal contest, Oscar Goodman – later named to the Tournament All-Star 5 – scored 25 points along with 8 rebounds to take his tournament points tally to 119, at a lofty 17 points per game.

Lachie Crate had arguably his strongest game of the tournament with 21 points, the consistent Jones tallied 15 points, Troy Plumtree finished with 5 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists while Jackson Kiss plundered 13 rebounds to accompany 3 blocks and 3 points.

New Zealand had beaten Turkey 114-94 in the opening game of the tournament, but the hosts were far more resilient opposition with a medal at stake – and had the better of the Kiwis in most major statistical categories.

Despite the 21 rebounds accumulated by Kiss and Plumtree, Turkey came up with 15 offensive boards compared with the Kiwis 11 and only had 11 turnovers to New Zealand’s 17.

However it was the shooting numbers that were the most telling. Outstanding Turkish wing Derin Can Ustun made 6 from 10 from beyond the arc where Turkey were a highly efficient 46% (15/33). In comparison New Zealand were just 5 from 22 (23%) from deep and only 37% (23/62) overall from the field – Turkey shot  at 44% (35/79) from the field.

Despite Turkey drawing first blood, New Zealand established an early 8-2 lead with Crate making a couple of baskets. Ustun then made the first of his six threes to prompt a 13-1 Turkey run. Turkey had made just 28% of their 3-point shots at the tournament but their 46% clip in this one – and New Zealand’s relative coolness – proved pivotal in such a high stakes game.

After Mana Martin made a mid-range jumper the Kiwis trailed 23-16, however – as would occur ahead of each quarter break – Turkey made a crucial basket on the buzzer to increase their advantage by two. Despite a Goodman basket, Turkey pushed their lead out to 33-18 before Jones and Crate reduced the margin.

A Goodman triple and dunk reduced the margin to nine and when Jones scored inside New Zealand appeared on the charge trailing by just seven (39-32) with 68 seconds left in the first half. That minute and a bit proved costly for the Kiwis with Turkey making another 9 point run to close the half with a 48-33 lead.

Despite their opponents starting the second half strongly the Kiwis were right back in the contest – trailing 56-45 after a James Matthews make – and the picture was equally promising after Plumtree’s basket as the margin was only ten points (58-48) with under four minutes remaining in the third.

However New Zealand would again falter in the closing minutes of a period, giving up a 15-5 run to trail 73-53 at three-quarter time. New Zealand’s leading scorers Jones, Crate and Goodman, along with Jackson Ball, kept the score ticking over in the fourth – but Turkey were able to hold onto their advantage with relative ease and claim a bronze medal victory in front of the home supporters.

Goodman averaged 17 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.4 steals per game and was deservedly named to the Tournament All-Star 5.

Coach Leyton Haddleton and his charges have done New Zealand proud. Despite the disappointment of missing out on a medal he and his team can reflect on an outstanding, historic World Cup that has put a smile on the faces of the New Zealand basketball community.

In the gold medal game USA underlined their superiority at the tournament with a 129-88 win against Italy – the American’s seventh U17 World Cup triumph.



New Zealand 78 – Goodman 25 PTS & 8 REBS | Crate 21 PTS PTS | Jones 15 PTS | Plumtree 5 PTS, 5 REBS & 5 ASSISTS | Matthews 4 PTS | KISS 3 PTS, 13 REBS & 3 BLOCKS |Ball 3 PTS | Martin 2 PTS

Turkey 101 – D Ustan 27 PTS | C Coskun 16 PTS | K Onut 16 PTS

Box Score:

Quarter Scores: 16-25, 17-23, 20-25, 25-28


FIBA U7 Men’s World Cup – New Zealand Schedule and Results

NZL v Turkey – WON 114-94

NZL v Argentina – WON  89-81

NZL v Italy – LOST 95-69

NZL v Egypt – WON 85-64

NZL v Lithuania– WON 73-65

NZL v USA – LOST 145-65

NZL v Turkey – LOST 101-78


NZ Men’s U17 Squad at FIBA U17 World Cup

Jackson Ball, Basketball Hawkes Bay/ Hawkes Bay Hawks

Ihaka Cate, Canterbury Basketball Association/ Canterbury Rams

Lachlan Crate, Basketball Manawatu / Manawatu Jets

Gus Dallow, Harbour Basketball Association / Auckland Tuatara

Oscar Goodman, Basketball Taranaki / NBA Global Academy

Hayden Jones, Nelson Basketball Association / Nelson Giants

Jackson Kiss, Basketball Auckland / Auckland Tuatara

Mana Martin, Canterbury Basketball Association/ Canterbury Rams

James Matthews, Nelson Basketball Association / Nelson Giants

Troy Plumtree, Wellington Basketball Association /Wellington Saints

Jameer Reed, Harbour Basketball Association / Auckland Tuatara

Hunter Te Ratana, Waitakere West Auckland Basketball / Auckland Tuatara