Tai Webster and Isaac Fotu will share a flight back to New Zealand on Sunday to assemble with the Tall Blacks for the World Cup qualifying fixture against South Korea, in Wellington on Thursday.
However before boarding the flight in Frankfurt, the pair will be on opposite sides as Webster’s Frankfurt Skyliners will play Fotu’s Ratiopharm Ulm in a German Bundesliga fixture.
Whilst the pair have pulled on the black singlet together on a number of occasions, the meeting on Saturday is almost certainly the first time that Webster and Fotu have played against one another.
Fotu is eagerly anticipating the game on Saturday, “I’m really looking forward to playing against Tai, as based in Europe I rarely get the chance to play against other Kiwis.
“Then we get to fly back to New Zealand together for the game against Korea, which we are both looking forward to. Pulling on the black singlet again will be fantastic,” says Fotu.
Both players have been in good form for their respective clubs. In his first season in the professional ranks, since graduating from the University of Nebraska, Webster is averaging 13.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and a team high 4.3 assists per game as the Skyliners sit fifth on the German League ladder with a 5-3 win-loss record.
After a slow start Ulm have won their last two outings to sit tenth on the table with a 4-5 record.
Fotu, who moved to Ulm this season after playing three years in the Spanish League, is averaging 9.2 points and 3.6 rebounds for the regular season defending champions.
The pair first pulled on the black singlet together back in 2011 when they teamed up with Reuben Te Rangi to win gold at the 3x3 Youth Olympics in Italy.
Since then both have become an integral part of the Tall Blacks programme emphasized by their contributions at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.
Both played big minutes with Fotu averaging 9.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game whilst Webster chimed in with 5.3 points per game to accompany 3.0 rebounds an 1.5 assists per outing.
The Frankfurt Skyliners versus Ratiopharm Ulm game will tip off 6.00am Sunday morning (NZ time) and can be viewed along with highlights on the link below.
Tall Blacks v Korea, 23 November, TSB Bank Arena, Wellington: Tickets on sale now via www.ticketmaster.co.nz
Group A - Tests
New Zealand is in Group A for the first window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, along with China, South Korea and Hong Kong.
The top three will progress and carry points through to next window of qualifying.
• 23 November v South Korea, Wellington
• 26 November v Hong Kong, away
• 23 February v China, away
• 26 February v South Korea, away
• 28 June v Hong Kong, NZ. Venue TBA.
• 1 July v China, NZ. Venue TBA.
• Read the longlist of 24 players named
• The meaning of Tu Kaha, the Tall Blacks haka
• Learn more about the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers (Asia Zone).
• Tall Blacks supporters gear can be purchased here.
• Follow the Tall Blacks’ social media channels: @TallBlacks Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.