MBO Tall Blacks Head Coach Paul Henare describes this week’s camp in Wellington as a resounding success, with the final players dispersing today after three and a half days of workouts under the watchful eye of Henare and his coaching team.
On Sunday, Henare will name 14 players to gather again that evening, this time in Rotorua ahead of the FIBA World Cup Qualifying clash with Hong Kong on Thursday June 28, with the team then moving on to Auckland for the game against China on July 1 at Spark Arena.
While the camp had plenty of experienced players in the likes of Mika Vukona, Tom Abercrombie, Rob Loe, Jarrod Kenny, Isaac Fotu and Reuben Te Rangi, it was also a chance for Henare to run his eye over the next generation of talent that is knocking on the door of the team and looking to make an impression.
“We have guys like Tobias Cameron, Jackson Stent, Tyrell Harrison, Kruz Perrott-Hunt, Max Darling – guys that have never been in this environment before and then guys like Isaac Letoa and Jack Salt that have had a brief involvement before, but they have all hit the ground running. The last message to them as we prepare to head away is that regardless of who we name on Sunday, they will all be better off for this experience as I know they will all wear the black singlet at some point in their futures.”
Henare says the mix of young and old, rookies and veterans made for a great vibe around the team.
“This is quite a different group from the Commonwealth Games, we have a lot of guys from that group but have had the chance to bring back some new guys, some young guys and the feel in the group has been awesome. The energy has been great, and they have come together - as they always do, really well. Right from Sunday night the guys are here for the right reasons, it is always a fun group to be around.”
Fun aside though, Henare stresses that there is one focus and one only for the upcoming FIBA World Cup Qualifying games in Rotorua and Auckland.
“We need to win, the competition format is such that you carry wins through to the next round so each result is extremely important, that is our number one focus for this window. There is always an eye on the future though, whenever we get together. With the competition format we have not had the same group together since the FIBA Asia Cup last year, that is four windows or competitions with four different teams. So, for us it is an eye on the future, but an eye on the competition as well.”
While primarily using the time in Wellington to select his 14 players to reassemble on Sunday, Henare says every minute is precious for the team to work on their systems and playbook.
“Preparation time is extremely limited, and you have to be so productive in the limited time you have on the floor and that is why we are so grateful for this camp and the chance to extend our preparation for the upcoming games. It is a trial as well, but we have tried to also build some layers in terms of what we want to do in our system in the time we have had the group together, work we will build on once we have the 14 together again in Rotorua on Sunday.”
With players being released yesterday and today back to their Sal’s NBL clubs, Henare will name the 14 players to travel to Rotorua and Auckland on Sunday, following the conclusion of the current round of games.
WORLD CUP 2019 QUALIFIERS
This June and July FIBA World Cup Qualifiers window will conclude the First Round. The Second Round will tip off in September 2018 and feature 60 teams: 24 in Europe and 12 each in Africa, the Americas and Asia-Oceania. That second window will be made up of three windows (in orange below).
The Second Round of the Qualifiers will come to a close with 31 national teams booking their tickets to join tournament hosts China at the first-ever 32-team FIBA Basketball World Cup taking place from 31 August to 15 September, 2019.
MBO Tall Blacks FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, ROUND ONE
Date | Opponents | Home/Away
23 Nov 2017 vs Korea at TSB Bank Arena, Wellington. Result: Tall Blacks lost 80-86
26 Nov 2017 vs Hong Kong at Southourn Stadium, Hong Kong. Result: Tall Blacks won 133-74
23 Feb 2018 vs China at Dongguan Basketball Centre, China. Result: Tall Blacks won 82-73
26 Feb 2018 vs Korea at Jamsil Gymnasium, Seoul, South Korea. Result: Tall Blacks won 93-84
28 Jun 2018 vs Hong Kong at Energy Events Centre, Rotorua. Tip off at 7pm. TICKETS
1 Jul 2018 vs China vs Spark Arena, Auckland. Tip off at 3pm. TICKETS
MBO Tall Blacks FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, ROUND TWO
Date | Opponents | Home/Away
- 13 Sep 2018 TBA (Pool C crossover) AWAY
- 17 Sep 2018 TBA (Pool C crossover) HOME
- 29 Nov 2018 TBA (Pool C crossover) HOME
- 2 Dec 2018 TBA (Pool C crossover) HOME
- 21 or 22 Feb 2019 TBA (Pool C crossover) AWAY
- 24 or 25 Feb 2019 TBA (Pool C crossover) AWAY
• Learn more about the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers (Asia Zone) here.
• Tall Blacks supporters gear can be purchased here.
• Follow the Tall Blacks’ social media channels: @TallBlacks Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Hashtags: #TuKaha #TallBlacks #FIBAWC #ThisIsMyHouse
• Tall Blacks website
• Read about Tu Kaha and the Tall Blacks culture
• The games will be broadcast live by the Host Broadcaster, Maori Television