Finn Delany is a late withdrawal from the MBO Tall Blacks upcoming FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, with the SKYCITY Breakers forward seeking further attention on a knee injury.
While clearly disappointed at the news, Tall Blacks Head Coach Paul Henare accepts that injuries will play a part in the FIBA windows, and has complete faith in the 12 that will eventually suit up against Jordan (29 November, Horncastle Arena, Christchurch) and Syria (2 December, TSB Bank Arena, Wellington).
“This is a blow for us and for Finn, but right now the priority has to be for him to seek further treatment and get healthy. He is a player that brings a great deal of experience to our group despite being young in years, and I know he is always keen to pull on that black singlet.”
Henare says the nature of the windows and international scheduling under the new format in Asia means he has little time to dwell on players that aren’t there, but instead pour his energy into the 14 that will assemble in Christchurch on Monday.
“Someone’s bad news however inevitably leads to good news for another player and in this case I am delighted to call up Tom Vodanovich to the Tall Blacks for the first time. Tom is a player that has progressed through the Sal’s NBL and into the New Zealand Select team, where he was a standout performer on our tour of China earlier this year,” says Coach Henare.
Vodanovich returned home to Wellington in July 2017 following four years playing Division 1 college basketball in the United States for James Madison University in Virginia. He was immediately signed to the SIT Zerofees Southland Sharks for 2018 and helped the team win the 2018 Sal’s NBL title. He was also part of the four-man New Zealand squad that won silver at the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup in Mongolia in October last year. This year Vodanovich became part of the SKYCITY Breakers Development squad.
Coach Henare says the addition of the 201cm 24-year-old Vodanovich is a result of building depth in the Tall Blacks squad through the NZ Select team and a standout Sal’s NBL season.
“Tom is not dissimilar to Finn in what he brings, a physical presence, an energy to rebound, make the hustle plays and he offers a genuine scoring threat. He is a young player who shows little fear and a liking for the big moment, as was on show in some clutch plays on the buzzer with New Zealand Select.
“This will be an opportunity for him to rub shoulders with the likes of Mika, Tom Abercrombie and an experienced group of Tall Blacks, and further learn what it means to be in the national team environment. Again, this is a situation where our planning and work on increasing the depth of talent exposed to international basketball can pay dividends for us.”
If the Tall Blacks win the next two games, they will qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
Tickets for the Tall Blacks v Jordan game in Christchurch can be purchased at www.Ticketek.co.nz.
Tickets for the Tall Blacks v Syria game in Wellington can be purchased at www.Ticketmaster.co.nz.
MBO Tall Blacks. FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, Window Five Round Two:
• Tom Abercrombie. SKYCITY Breakers
• Tyrell Harrison. Brisbane Bullets
• Shea Ili. Cigna Saints, SKYCITY Breakers
• Jarrod Kenny. Taylor Hawks, Cairns Taipans
• Rob Loe. Cairns Taipans
• Jordan Ngatai. Cigna Saints, SKYCITY Breakers
• Kruz Perrott-Hunt. Rosmini College, SKYCITY Breakers Development
• Alex Pledger. SIT Zerofees Southland Sharks, Melbourne United
• Derone Raukawa. SIT Zerofees Southland Sharks
• Ethan Rusbatch. Taylor Hawks
• Tohi Smith-Milner. Mike Pero Nelson Giants, Melbourne United
• Reuben Te Rangi. SIT Zerofees Southland Sharks, Brisbane Bullets
• Tom Vodanovich. SIT Zerofees Southland Sharks, SKYCITY Breakers Development
• Mika Vukona. Mike Pero Nelson Giants, Brisbane Bullets
MBO Tall Blacks FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, ROUND TWO
Date | Opponents | Home/Away
• AWAY: 13 Sep 2018 vs Syria, Nouhad Nawfal Stadium, Zouk Mikael, Lebanon Tall Blacks won 107-66
• HOME: 17 Sep 2018 vs Lebanon, Energy Events Centre, Rotorua. Tall Blacks won 63-60
• HOME: 29 Nov 2018 vs Jordan, Horncastle Arena, Christchurch
• HOME: 2 Dec 2018 vs Syria, TSB Bank Arena, Wellington
• AWAY: 21 or 22 Feb 2019 vs Lebanon in Lebanon
• AWAY: 24 or 25 Feb 2019 vs Jordan in Jordan
MBO Tall Blacks FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, ROUND ONE
Date | Opponents | Home/Away
• 23 Nov 2017 vs Korea at TSB Bank Arena, Wellington. Tall Blacks lost 80-86
• 26 Nov 2017 vs Hong Kong at Southourn Stadium, Hong Kong. Tall Blacks won 133-74
• 23 Feb 2018 vs China at Dongguan Basketball Centre, China. Tall Blacks won 82-73
• 26 Feb 2018 vs Korea at Jamsil Gymnasium, Seoul, South Korea. Tall Blacks won 93-84
• 28 Jun 2018 vs Hong Kong at Energy Events Centre, Rotorua. Tall Blacks won 124-65
• 1 Jul 2018 vs China vs Spark Arena, Auckland. Tall Blacks won 67-57
• 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. Hashtags: #TuKaha #TallBlacks #FIBAWC #ThisIsMyHouse
• Tall Blacks website
• Read about Tū Kaha and the Tall Blacks culture
• The games will be broadcast live by the Host Broadcaster, Maori Television
• Watch the Tū Kaha webisode series on the Tall Blacks.