Tall Blacks trialists named
Eight players will get a chance to represent the Tall Blacks for the first time when they attend the national trials in Auckland next week.
NZ men’s coach Nenad Vucinic has named 19 players for his two-day trial, before trimming his roster to 12 for an upcoming tour of China, followed by the FIBA Oceania Championship series against Australia next month.
Nearly half the hopefuls have yet to play for the Tall Blacks and with several leading players unavailable, spots are available for newcomers.
Those newbies are guard Brad Anderson, forward Jordan Ngatai, forward Dion Prewster, guard Brook Ruscoe, forward Jack Salt, forward Reuben Te Rangi, forward Thomas Vodanovich and guard Marco Alexander.
Ngatai and Vodanovich are heading to US colleges this year, while the others have enjoyed excellent seasons in the Bartercard NBL for their respective teams.
Notable absentees include veteran shooter Kirk Penney, Leon Henry, Isaac Fotu, Tai Webster and Rob Loe. NZ Breakers star Tom Abercrombie will miss the trials, but is expected to join the team in China after pursuing his NBA dream.
Basketball New Zealand hopes to have newly drafted NBA prospect Steven Adams attend the Oceania championship, whether as a player or a special guest.
“We understand this is a very exciting and challenging time for Steven in his career,” says BBNZ chief executive Iain Potter.
“But he has expressed his desire to play for the Tall Blacks at some point and I’m sure if he possibly can, we’ll see him in action soon.”
The following players will assemble in Auckland on Tuesday, with the Tall Blacks due to fly out for China a week later.
Brad Anderson (Taranaki Mountain Airs), BJ Anthony (Otago Nuggets), Everard Bartlett (Bay Hawks), Josh Bloxham (Nelson Giants), Casey Frank (Wellington Saints), Nick Horvath (Manawatu Jets), Jarrod Kenny (Bay Hawks), Jordan Ngatai (BYU Hawaii), Alex Pledger (NZ Breakers), Dion Prewster (Bay Hawks), Brook Ruscoe (Nelson Giants), Jack Salt (Super City Rangers), Lindsay Tait (Wellington Saints), Reuben Te Rangi (Southland Sharks), Jeremiah Trueman (Manawatu Jets), Thomas Vodanovich (James Madison University), Mika Vukona (Nelson Giants), Corey Webster (Wellington Saints), Marco Alexander (Waikato Pistons)