Outstanding Southland basketball prospect Mac Stodart has been selected in the New Zealand Under 16 boys basketball team to travel to Australia in July to take on some of Australia's top junior teams.
New Zealand Under 16 Boys Head Coach, Zico Coronel, says the team was selected following a comprehensive trial process beginning in December comprising of four national camps.
"As a coaching staff Morgan [Maskell], Danny [Page], and Manager Manu Hoque and I believe that the prolonged time frame has allowed the boys to make major improvements. The team looks quite different now than if we’d had selected it earlier owing to the outstanding work done by many athletes with their local coaches leading to huge improvements. It was a difficult selection with so many boys performing at a high level, however after much discussion as a coaching staff and film study, we are very pleased with our squads and the quality of the reserves should they be required.
"We are fortunate to have skilled and intelligent players who, more importantly, are young men of very high character. This is a testament to the young men themselves, their parents, their wider whanau and their coaches in their local areas, at representative, school and at an individual level."
The New Zealand Under 16 Boys team will prepare for the Australia Junior Champs on 4 to 16 July in Sterling, Australia. Coach Coronel says prior to the event, they will be looking to develop certainty and confidence in the team's skill sets, understandings of the game and systems.
"The two teams (Under 16 New Zealand team and the U16 New Zealand Select team) have quickly become a very close group, so we will continue to operate as one large whanau celebrating each other’s success as much as possible. The May camp will be a joint camp but the final preparation camps will be separate. In terms of the competition we are primarily concerned with our own culture and our own play. We are working to become great basketball players and great basketball teams in our own right. If we can achieve this, I’ll be pleased and we will see how the results turn out at the two strong tournaments that are the Under 16 State Champs and the Medibank Classic," says Coach Coronel.
New Zealand Under 16 Boys Team: Robert Coman - Basketball Auckland Cian Emery - North Harbour Basketball Samuel Jenkins - Canterbury Basketball Association Taine Murray - North Harbour Basketball Obadaiah Paea - Waitakere West Auckland Basketball Inc. Harrison Payne - Waitakere West Auckland Basketball Inc. Mac Stodart - Southland Basketball Association Okirano Tilaia - Canterbury Basketball Association Reihana Topia - North Harbour Basketball Ezrah Vaigafa - Wellington Basketball Association