Excitement is rising as the Tall Blacks training squad was named this morning. Head coach, Paul Henare, has already started strategizing before the team goes into camp.
"A lot of it will be around our system, what we're running offensively, how we do things at the defensive end, and a lot of that will be based on pressure defence and being able to get up the floor and really put pressure on the opposition,” Henare commented.
Even with the unavailability of basketball heavyweights such as Steven Adams and Alex Pledger, Henare is excited about the squad he's taking into camp in preparation for FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifying round against Hong Kong and China.
“We’ve created a culture where we just rely on the guys who are with us that are wanting to put on the singlet at any given time and that's who we'll focus on," Henare commented.
One of the first things that the team will be doing in camp will be cementing the team’s culture.
"We're going to spend time on our first morning together with Paora Winitana who was really instrumental in creating our haka for us," said Henare.
Henare is confident in the team’s chances of qualifying and has a strong game plan for his team, however, he is adamant that they must respect the strength of their opponents.
"We only need to look back to November when we had our first game against Korea in Wellington and we lost that one. We're a confident team but the thing that we've understood and appreciated and respected is that in international basketball you need to respect your opposition," Henare cautioned.
The Tall Blacks are scheduled to play Hong Kong in Rotorua at the end of this month