The Tall Blacks have announced a 12-man squad for the upcoming Commonwealth Games which take place in Australia this April.
Three of the team’s top players, Isaac Fotu, Corey Webster and Tai Webster, will not be available to play as their respective European teams didn’t grant them leave.
Head coach Paul Henare will still have multiple veterans to call upon, with Mike Vukona, Thomas Abercrombie, Alex Pledger, Jarrod Kenney and Rob Loe all named in the squad.
The squad will feature a lot of young talent too, and Henare is confident in their ability to produce when needed.
“While some of this group are younger in years, they have all benefited from recent international basketball, through the 2017 Asia Cup when we took a very inexperienced team away, to recent New Zealand Select tours to China, and of course many were involved in recent FIBA World Cup qualifying windows,” said Henare.
“Guys like Ethan (Rusbatch), Derone (Raukawa) and Tohi (Milner-Smith) are young but bring the experience of that Asia Cup campaign to every team they play for, while others such as Shea (Ili), Finn (Delany), Jordan (Ngatai) and our captain Rueben (Te Rangi) all benefited hugely from that experience and have a great understanding of the pressure they will face in the next few weeks.”
New Zealand will play Nigeria, Australia and Canada in pool play. Canada is expected to name a developmental squad due to the NBA commitments many of their players have; Australia is in a similar boat.
Pool games will be played in Cairns, while the semi-finals and medal rounds will take place on the Gold Coast.
Reuben Te Rangi
The announcement from Basketball New Zealand can be read HERE.