Basketball New Zealand have announced the players that will represent New Zealand in four under-16 age-group teams, who will travel to Australia in June and July to take on some of Australia’s top junior teams. 

Four squads have been selected: 

• New Zealand U16 Girls • New Zealand U16 Boys • New Zealand ‘A’ U16 Girls  • New Zealand ‘A’ U16 Boys. 

The New Zealand U16 teams will play in the Australian State Championships from 29 June to 10 July, in Melbourne. This tournament is the most prestigious age-group national basketball event in Australia, where the best of the best juniors in Australia and New Zealand compete. 

The New Zealand ‘A’ U16 boys and girls teams will compete in the Medibank Classic from 9 June to 14 June, which is an invitational competition primarily for clubs. 2016 will be the first year that New Zealand team has been invited to this tournament.

Coach of the New Zealand Under 16 Boys team, Dave MacKay, says these events will be a big test. “Both of these competitions bring together the most talented junior players in Australia. While the ultimate goal for any junior basketballer is to get to the World Championships, we will treat these Australian tournaments with equal respect because it’s the task that’s right in front of us and the competition is tough.  “I know our players relish the chance to test themselves at these respected Australian events, especially when they all know it’s the same tournaments where the likes of NBA stars Matthew Dellavedova and Patty Mills competed and developed as juniors.”

MacKay says the State Champs and the Medibank Classic are all part of the long-term preparation for these junior players. While the 2018 World Championships are a target, the teams must first qualify through the 2017 FIBA Asia Pacific Championships.

“One of the reasons we have selected a group of 20 girls and 20 boys, as opposed to one girls team and one boys team, is to ensure there’s a broad group of players being developed, especially with the 2017 FIBA Asia Pacific Championships next year. It gives everybody an equal chance to strengthen their game as they develop, so they all have a chance to prove their abilities as we build towards the big international events. 

“I believe we’ve selected a really gifted group of players. It’s a sign that basketball in New Zealand is continuing to grow in strength,” says McKay.

The 2016 Under 16’s Programme

27 – 29 May – National Preparation Camp for all 40 athletes. 8 – 14 June – Travel and Medibank Classic Melbourne – Australia NZ ‘A’ U16 teams 27 – 28 June NZ 16 Camp Auckland – NZ U16 teams 29 June – 10 July Travel and Australian State Championships Melbourne – Australia NZ U16 teams

Players and Teams:

New Zealand U16 Girls

Ella Bradley - Waikato Basketball Council  Isabelle Cook - Taranaki Country Basketball Association  Gracie Hasler-Ewin - North Harbour Basketball  Charlisse Leger-Walker - Waikato Basketball Council  Jordyn Maddix - North Harbour Basketball  Caitlin O'Connell - Taranaki Country Basketball Association Sharne Pupuke-Robati - Counties Manukau Basketball  Briarley Rogers - Tauranga City Basketball Association Rosalia Samia - Basketball Hawkes Bay  Rashaan Smith - North Harbour Basketball 

New Zealand U16 'A' Girls 

Olivia Avery - Nelson Basketball Association  Tayla Dalton - North Harbour Basketball Mareta Davidson - North Harbour Basketball  Parehuia Delamere - Harbour Basketball  Isabella Elgar - North Harbour Basketball  Emily Knight - Canterbury Basketball Association  Koha Lewis - Waikato Basketball Council  Eniselina Pale - Marlborough Basketball Association  Ashlee Strawbridge - Basketball Mid Canterbury  Moanekah Va'ai - Basketball Auckland 

New Zealand U16 Men

Shalom Broughton - Tauranga City Basketball Association Tom Cowie - Southland Basketball Association Mitchell Dance - North Harbour Basketball Joseph Hylton - North Harbour Basketball Kainoa Lepou - Waikato Basketball Council Logan McIntosh - North Harbour Basketball Jared Thornton - North Harbour Basketball Morgan Trott - Taranaki Country Basketball Association Ezrah Vaigafa - Wellington Basketball Association Marvin Williams-Dunn - Basketball Auckland

New Zealand U16 'A' Men

Tyler Auelua - Wellington Basketball Association Emmerson Kavakura - Wellington Basketball Association Cullen Marsters - Waikato Basketball Council Corban Mason - Waikato Basketball Council Louis Oskam - Canterbury Basketball Association Anzac Rissetto - Nelson Basketball Association Colin Robins - Canterbury Basketball Association Jacob Tawhiao - Hibiscus Coast Basketball Association Reihana Topia-Maxwell - North Harbour Basketball Nathan Walker - Southland Basketball Association

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