Dan Fotu will debut for the Tall Blacks alongside Brother Isaac in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers in China on Friday night. With the Webster brothers Tai and Corey in the team, it will be the first time two sets of brothers will turn out for New Zealand.
Dongguan City basketball centre in China isn't a bad place for the younger Dan to debut with brother Isaac.
Coach Paul Henare says, “I know it'll be a proud moment for their family having two sets of Fotu's out there.”
“It's my first time being on the same team as him. It's a bit weird, but it I think it'll be good, it'll be cool,” says the older Fotu.
Despite being siblings, there will be no special treatment shown by his brother Isaac, as Dan explains, “We push each other. He's definitely going to push me in this. It'll make me do better, and maybe compete against guys in my position.”
“I think he's ready to try and contribute and hopefully play better,” says Isaac Fotu.
Fotu's opportunity has come on the back of his NZ Breakers teammate and shooting guard Thomas Abercrombie expecting the birth of his child.
Henare says, “It's really cool to have another young face, (a) young up and coming guy coming through the ranks and being able to pull on the black singlet for the first time.”
Basketball is strong within the Fotu family. Both parents Manu and Jenny are involved with North Harbour Basketball. As well as Isaac being an established Tall Black, Sister Gabriella (Ella) also enjoyed a stellar 2016-2017 season with the Hawai’i Pacific University Sharks.
Both are now considered elite players.
“Way back, he was always dominant playing ball, him and my sister. Now that I've grown, I'm more dominant, so I think I'll beat him one on one now,” he says.
Win or lose, the Tall Blacks will make history with the inclusion of two sets of brothers.