Topic: Basketball

Tall Blacks gear up for world champs

By Ruth Smith
  • Auckland

With the Breakers' hopes of making the play-offs tentative, Jordan Ngatai says he is wanting to improve his game as his national team gears up for the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.

Tall Blacks and Breakers forward, Ngatai is hoping for more game time for the remainder of the basketball season.

“This is the world stage and everyone's trying to get on top of it but especially for me, not playing a whole lot in this league and then going to the Tall Blacks and getting all these minutes.  Once I get to that FIBA window, I'm trying to make a statement,” says Ngatai.

Ngatai has kept in contact with head coach Paul Henare and hopes he can continue to produce his personal best performances ahead of the international window from August to September.

“[The] last window showed everything.  It just felt good going back out and playing and I had probably one of my better games that I've had for the Tall Blacks,” he says.

The Tall Blacks will play Lebanon, on Saturday, February 23rd at 8.30am (NZST) before their second fixture against Jordan on Monday morning, February 25th at 3.30am (NZST). 

“Two big games for us- especially preparing for this world champs- but with the team and the players and the confidence we've been having in each other, it's been awesome,” Ngatai explains.

Before he gets there, his Breakers side still has some hard yards to get to the NBL playoffs, all the while balancing their commitments to the national side.

“It's tough, especially if we do make playoffs- going into that window and then coming straight back to the playoffs is going to be tough but it's your country, you don't want to turn down your country,” says Ngatai.

Ngatai's Breakers will be taking on Paul Henare's Melbourne United on Friday night.