Friday 24 April 2015

2015 Tall Blacks schedule!

Basketball NZ has put together a pretty comprehensive and challenging schedule together for the Tall Blacks this season! The build up includes six games, all against teams ranked inside the top 30 in the world. Then of course it all comes down to two games against Australia for the opportunity to play at the Olympics in Rio and unlike the World Cup qualifying series where both teams had already stamped their ticket, only one team gets a spot, so theres a lot at stake!!

Here is a quick run down of the games

25th July vs Great Britain 
29th July vs Croatia
30th July vs Slovenia

After that little trek through England and Europe they will head to China to contest the Stankovic against China, Mexico and Venezuela

Followed by a short camp back here in New Zealand then into the qualifying series against the Boomers. Game one is in Melbourne on August 15 and game two is on Wellington on August 18...With points differential deciding the winner in the case of a 1-1 tie

Pretty tough schedule for first year coach Paul Henare, but knowing him, will definitely be a challenge he is looking forward to.

The nations we are playing, depending on who is available and who isn't, will put some quality players out on the floor.

When you think of Great Britain, basketball probably isn't the first sport that pops into your head. But could potentially have Luol Deng of the Miami heat and Joel Freeland of the Portland Trail Blazers at their disposal.

Croatia may also have Bojan Bogdanovic of the Brooklyn Nets and Damjan Rudez of the Indiana Pacers (who is a 6'10'' SF!!). Plus Beno Udrih and brothers Goran and Zoran Gragic could also suit up for Slovenia.

Then in the Stankovic cup Mexico may have guard Jorge Gutierrez of the Milwaukee Bucks and Venezuela's Greivis Vasquez may also suit up for his home country, slightly of topic but slighty interesting, Vasquez is a former college teammate of Breakers championship hero Ekene Ibekwe...China don't currently have any players in the NBA, but at home (and with Chinese referees haha) they definitely won't be easy beats.

Then lastly the Boomers, the series is obviously a few months away so some players may make themselves unavailable, but so far the only player who has definitely pulled out is Utah Jazz swingman Joe Ingles. So Andrew Bogut, Aron Baynes, Patty Mills, Dante Exum, Cameron Barstow and Matthew Dellavedova, at this stage, haven't ruled out playing in the series. Factor in European based players like Nathan Jawai, Chris Goulding and Ryan Broekhoff plus projected 2016 number one draft pick Ben Simmons, could potentially be a very dangerous line up...

As usual, the Tall Blacks will be underdogs, but with over a month of preparation against world class competition, a new wave of talent making a name for themselves and some good old Kiwi spirit I wouldn't put anything past the Tall Blacks...Also just a quick message to Sam Presti, if you would allow Steve Adams play for us this year...

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