NZ U16 Boys strong ahead of Australian tournaments

By Eru Paranihi

New Zealand under 16 Boys Basketball coach Zico Coronel has named two strong teams who will head to Australia in June and July. One team will be playing in the Melbourne Classic, while the other team will feature in the Australian Junior Championships.

It was a tough decision to let go of so many great players, but Coach Zico Coronel could only name twenty players.

Coronel says, “That's always one of the most difficult aspects as a coach especially for the boys who have done everything right. They've conducted themselves in exemplary fashion, they've worked hard and they've all made improvements.”

During the national selection camps, the team stayed at Te Unga Waka Marae in Auckland building their team culture and unity. It was an idea put forward by management.

“Our primary school we would always go and stay at a Marae once a year for a week, so I was kind of used to it and our manager found us a Marae close to our practice facilities. They've been awesome supporting BBNZ's programs.”

The boys are inspired by the recent success of the Junior Tall Blacks who beat Australia in the Oceania Tournament final.

"I guess really trying to show what Kiwi's can do on the world stage. We see that with Steven Adams, Ty Wynyard, the Matt Freemans, and the number of kids being successful in the college environment."

The mind-set now switches from trying to make the team to creating a winning team

"We can't control really how good the Australian teams will be. So we're just focussing on trying to be as good as we can.”
“…really trying to create certainty so we can play with the confidence going on to the court feeling like ten superheroes going to kick some Kangaroo butt."

The next two months are crucial for both teams with only two more training camps before setting off for Australia.