Van Kuyk commits to the Dream
A more professional environment around the domestic women’s game has been the catalyst for top women’s basketballer Rebecca Van Kuyk to return to the New Zealand basketball scene in the Women’s Basketball Championship with the Auckland Dream franchise. After playing overseas for a number of years, Van Kuyk says she wasn’t sure what the women’s programme now looked like in NZ. “On returning, I now see that the professionalism of the programmes and the quality of the coaches has really lifted. There is a clear pathway for the young girls coming through here now, and I find that really exciting”. Van Kuyk says she still has a huge passion for the game, and is inspired seeing her basketball friends in new stages of their lives, getting married, having babies and then still returning to the court to play top level basketball.
Van Kuyk has had a nomadic but successful basketball journey from her start in the sport at New Plymouth Girls High in Taranaki. She first tasted success as part of her high school’s first ever national championship win, in the U16 girls division in 2005. A move to California to finish her schooling allowed Van Kuyk a taste of the US basketball system, and exposed her to a higher level of the game than she would have had staying in NZ. After returning home, she represented both Wellington and Porirua, before heading north to a 3 year term with the North Harbour women’s team. The travel bug beckoned again, and led Van Kuyk to Cardiff in Wales, before returning to the southern hemisphere and a very successful stint with the Sunbury Jets in Victoria, Australia. She rates her time at Sunbury as her career highlight, winning back-to-back championships under the coaching of former Tall Ferns coach, Kennedy Kereama, where she says the team had an unbreakable bond on and off the court.
Van Kuyk will be joining an Auckland Dream organisation that is only one season into its existence, but has already established itself as a strong force in the women’s game with a 3rd placing in their inaugural season. The recruitment of Tall Ferns captain Natalie Taylor along with sister and former Fern Charmian Mellars, meant the new franchise was competitive from the outset. With further strong signings for 2019 including Van Kuyk and former championship MVP Milomilo Nanai, the Dream will again be strong contenders for the title. Van Kuyk says “I am beyond impressed with what Auckland Dream are doing for the women’s game in this region, and I am excited to be adding to an already elite roster. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together”. Tall Ferns assistant and Auckland Dream head coach, Aik Ho, is also excited by the new addition to his roster and says “Bex has been playing for Kennedy in Melbourne and so I knew she would fit into our culture. She brings a wealth of experience, she really competes and plays physical, she will be tough in the paint.'
The Women’s Basketball Championship kicks off in Christchurch on May 10-12. Follow Auckland Dream on Facebook to keep up to date with game schedules, player announcements, live-streams and all the news around women’s basketball.