The MBO Tall Blacks have confirmed their build-up for the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup in China, with back to back games against Canada in Sydney highlighting a comprehensive preparation that will also see the Paul Henare coached team play further games in Japan and China on the way to the World Championships to be contested from August 31 – September 15.
It is a superb build-up fashioned by Basketball New Zealand, with the MBO Tall Blacks set to play world top-five ranked teams France (3) and Serbia (4), world number 13 Italy, fellow Asian qualifiers Japan (48) and what is likely to be an NBA laden Canadian (23) side in Sydney.
Basketball New Zealand CEO Iain Potter is delighted with the build-up and the invitation to play two games by one of the world’s leading basketball nations.
“These games are an amazing opportunity for the Tall Blacks, but also for Basketball New Zealand to forge new and ongoing relationships. It speaks to our reputation on the international stage that we have secured such an invite to play alongside some of the world’s best teams and I know Pauli (head coach Paul Henare) sees the games against Canada as a great measuring stick for where the team will be at leading into the World Cup.
“This is also a great incentive for our players, a chance for them to show what they can do against NBA level opposition, as a team but also in their own careers – who knows what might come of such an opportunity.”
New Zealand is one of only five nations – joining USA, Serbia, Argentina and Spain – to have made it out of pool play in each of the past four FIBA Basketball World Cups.
The Tall Blacks last met Canada during a classic semi final encounter at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast where the later won on the buzzer, setting up two compelling affairs when they meet again in Sydney on August 20 and 21.
Canada Basketball General Manager, Men’s High Performance Rowan Barrett said: “The Tall Blacks are a team on the rise and these will be another series of important games as we continue to build towards the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. Having last faced off in the semifinals at both the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila, Canada and New Zealand have some recent history and we expect a pair of hard-fought games that will ultimately better prepare us to achieve our goals at the World Cup.”
The International Basketball Series in Australia featuring seven games in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney is delivered by TEG Live.
TEG CEO Geoff Jones said: “As the trans-Tasman’s pre-eminent promoter of international sport, TEG Live is delighted to be bringing the biggest stars in basketball to Australia this August.
“With this year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup to be played in the region, it lends itself perfecting to having leading teams prepare for the world championships in Australia and giving fans the opportunity to see the best in the flesh.
“We know there are a lot of New Zealand ex-pats living in Sydney and we expect the Tall Blacks will receive strong support for their two games against Canada at the Quaycentre.”
Prior to arriving in Australia, the MBO Tall Blacks will assemble for a four-day camp in New Zealand, which will act as the final selection opportunity for all players invited. A feature of this camp will see all players used during the 18 months of 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers invited to attend and show their hand to the coaching staff one final time before a travelling party of 14 is named for the first stage of the build-up.
From there the team heads to Japan, where the MBO Tall Blacks will be hosted for ten days, playing against the Japanese national team twice in that time before heading to Sydney for the games against Canada.
It is then on to China, for a final pre-World Cup tournament and games against three European heavyweights in France (FIBA ranking 3), Serbia (4) and Italy (13), rounding out a thorough and testing preparation for the World Cup, with New Zealand playing their Group F matches in Nanjing.
Head Coach Paul Henare is delighted with the build-up and has no doubt it will deliver his side in great shape physically and mentally to be ready to go for game one at the World Cup.
“The team at Basketball New Zealand deserve huge praise for what they have put in place for us to be ready and at our best at the World Cup. Playing through the Asia qualifiers was a new and massive test and one that we passed with flying colours. But the World Cup will go up another couple of notches in intensity and quality and it is vital we are ready for that level of basketball. These matches against world class teams will help us achieve that, it will be a learning curve but one our group will be up for.”
The next step for Henare and his assistant coaches will be to name an initial roster of 14 players to travel to Japan for the first phase of the World Cup build up. That group will then be whittled down to 12 for the World Cup proper. The final opportunity for players to impress will be at the New Zealand camp held in Auckland from August 1 to 4.
MBO Tall Blacks 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup Preparation Schedule
1 – 4 August
Selection camp, Auckland
5 – 14 August
Japan camp and games against Japanese national team on the 12 and 14 August
15 – 21 August
Australian camp and games against Canada on August 20 and 21 (both in Sydney)
22 – 26 August
China tournament, games against France (Shenyang, August 24), Serbia (Anshan, August 25) and Italy (Anshan, August 26)
27 August onwards
2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, Nanjing, China. Group F games as follows:
1 September 2019 – Tall Blacks vs Brazil
3 September 2019 – Tall Blacks vs Montenegro
5 September 2019 – Tall Blacks vs Greece
Classification and/or second round games TBC
International Basketball Series in Australia schedule
16 August 2019 – Australian Boomers vs. Canada Basketball – RAC Arena, Perth
17 August 2019 – Australian Boomers vs. Canada Basketball – RAC Arena, Perth
20 August 2019 – Canada Basketball vs. New Zealand Tall Blacks – Quaycentre, Sydney
21 August 2019 – Canada Basketball vs. New Zealand Tall Blacks – Quaycentre, Sydney
22 August 2019 – USA Basketball vs. Australian Boomers – Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
24 August 2019 – USA Basketball vs. Australian Boomers – Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
26 August 2019 – USA Basketball vs. Canada Basketball – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
Ticketing details for games in Sydney
Tuesday 20 August 2019 – Quaycentre, Sydney at 7.30pm (local)
Wednesday 21 August 2019 – Quaycentre, Sydney at 7.30pm (local)
General Public On Sale
General on sale from 2.00pm NZT, Wednesday 8 May 2019