Tall Blacks coach Paul Henare believes that the Junior Tall Blacks have the potential to go all the way. Henare will be keeping an eye on the teams’ progress, and is looking to bring some of these players into camp ahead of the Asia Cup.
Many of the players who have left for Cairo are those that Henare has his eye on for the Tall Blacks.
Henare says, “There’s already a few of these guys that could potentially be called up into our training camp for the Tall Blacks this year, just through getting that experience, exposure, and looking towards the future. But also because some of those players are good in their own right.”
The former Under-16, Under-19, and Junior Tall Black representative is impressed with how their coach Daryl Cartwright has taken this team from participators to competitors.
“He’s doing an unbelievable job. He created history by beating the Aussies for the first time and qualifying for this tournament. That speaks volumes in itself.”
The Ngāpuhi descendant recently appointed former team-mate Paora Winitana as Basketball New Zealand’s cultural advisor. Despite not yet making the Tall Blacks, Winitana has also been involved with some of these young men.
“I think he’s a man of stature that can hold that responsibility in whatever it brings. And I think he’s just going to be a fantastic addition to the New Zealand select team.”
While the focus for Cartwright’s men is in Cairo, many of these players know that this is an opportunity to make the Tall Blacks side for the Asia Cup.
“These guys get back after their tournament in July, and we go into camp for the Tall Blacks July 20th, so there’s a good chance that there could be a couple of names on the squad that could be getting the call-up this year.”
Henare has bigger challenges that he faces, which includes the availability of star NBA star Steven Adams. On the flipside, there are 12 young men playing in a global event to choose from.