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All-NZ Q&A: James Ashby

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January 27, 2009
James Ashby

James Ashby

As a coach walks by, he encourages James Ashby “tell them you’re the beast, tell them you’re the beast”.

Ashby just laughs and shakes his head.

Rather than bragging about what he can do on the court, the 1.88m forward from Massey, would rather talk about what needs improvement or what he is yet to learn about the game. caught up with Ashby, a 15-year-old heading into Year 11 at Mt Albert Grammar in 2009, as the boys All-NZ Camp wrapped up in Palmerston North on Monday.

BBNZ: James, this is your second All-NZ Camp after attending with the under-16 squad in 2008, how was this year?
JA: It was a really good experience. I probably didn’t step up as much as I should have early on, putting the effort in and being a leader, which I should’ve. I was a bit slack at the start but I got going. I just thought I was being slack, so I gave myself a kick in the butt and got on with it.

BBNZ: What elements of the camp did you enjoy the most?
JA: I liked the game situations. They make you think quite a lot and just bonding with different teams and different players in the games was also good. We worked with different players and we work with different coaches as well, which helps everyone.

BBNZ: Anything specific you feel like you’ve learnt and improved on during the last four days?
JA: Definitely my physicality and being able to see what’s happening on the court and being a leader and being able to tell my team.

BBNZ: You, along with fellow campers Michael Karena and Kirk Rangiawha, won a bronze medal with the New Zealand under-18 team at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney earlier this month, how was that experience?
JA: It was an amazing experience. I could’ve played better in some of the games but it was just good to see the different playing styles from the different countries.

BBNZ: New Zealand faced Australia, Japan and China during the AYOF, how did the playing styles of those countries differ?
JA: It was definitely more physical and the defence was much better over there. To catch the ball you had to do much more. You just had to be more physical on and off the defence. And you had to box out. In New Zealand you don’t have to do that as much.

BBNZ: So you got much happening in 2009?
JA: It’s going to be pretty packed. I’ve got this Emerging Junior Tall Blacks team and the next age-group up with the Australian State Champs, plus school champs, club champs, men’s league and school juniors … oh and NCEA level one as well.

BBNZ: Always wanted to know this, any relation to St Patrick’s College captain and Junior Tall Blacks triallist Jake Ashby?
JA: Nah we’re not related, everyone asks that though. I have talked to him once.

BBNZ: OK, last thing, let’s cover your favourites. Player?
JA: Lebron James

BBNZ: Coach?
JA: Doe Williams

BBNZ: And team?
JA: Los Angeles Lakers