This Labour Weekend, 20-22 October, New Zealand’s top young basketball talent will assemble at the Pulman Arena for the Basketball New Zealand Under 15 and Under 17 National Team Selection Camps.
These national structured camps focus on player monitoring, support and reporting to help monitor athletes, and to develop the new Basketball New Zealand national style of play.
This new development system consists of three major annual camps: early February, April school holidays and in October over the Labour Weekend.
High Performance Director Leonard King says the camps have a more targeted approach, to provide athletes with a competitive and challenging environment that allows development at the highest level possible.
“In years gone by we had some very good people working with the teams, but collectively it was in an uncoordinated fashion. Each National team’s coach had their own offensive and defensive system. The teams had anywhere between seven and ten national camps each year to prepare for international competition. Between teams, there was a lack of progression of teaching concepts or principles from one year to the next; so each year the players had to learn a new system. Just imagine if that is the way we taught kids at school?
“The way we manage the camps now allows progressive teaching layers from Under 13 right through to Under 19, and each year we build on what was taught from the previous year. Our three annual camps promote basketball development in accordance with long-term athlete development, as opposed to one off junior national team campaigns where athletes and coaches were focused on a short-term result.
“The new system also provides a chance to share resources between teams, both human and financial, which reduces the amount the athletes have to pay to attend the camps. It is also an efficient way to deliver coach development to our national team coaches and managers. These camps allow coaches increased networking opportunities between our senior national coaches and junior national coaches.
“We also work with coaches on how to provide athletes with a unique experience to learn about the game, not just play the game but also teach skills that are transferable to life: discipline, teamwork, ability to understand and accept roles, and more importantly resilience – the lessons don’t stop at the end of the game, it’s what you take away from what the game has taught you,” says Coach King.
It’s not only New Zealand coaches that are keeping an eye on the national junior teams. Globally, the New Zealand age-group teams are getting more global exposure than ever before with New Zealand’s inclusion in the FIBA Asia Zone. Recently a number of scouts who attended the Schick Championships in Palmerston North stated that the FIBA Oceania Championships, Asia Championships and World Championships are well-followed by US colleges. Coach Aaron Fearne, who is now with University of North Carolina Charlotte, was one of those coaches scouting at the Schick Champs. Fearne is highly accomplished having coached in the ANBL and was brought in to help the Tall Blacks during the Commonwealth Games this year. Ferne says the FIBA events are closely watched and provide a stage for players to compete with some of the best.
“We watch tournaments like the FIBA Under 17 Worlds, the Under 19 Worlds, the Asia Qualifying games for the age-groups, and you get to see [players compete] against the Australian kids. A few of those kids on that team are playing some pretty high-level division one programmes, so you get a bit of a comparison there and see how they go against that type of talent,” said Coach Ferne.
Basketball New Zealand will also be hosting Custom College Recruiting for one of the sessions, to help explain the US college pathway, should players be interested in that pathway.
Read the list of players selected for the National Talent Camps here.