High-Performance Sports New Zealand (HPSNZ) made the decision to fund the New Zealand basketball team with up to $200,000 over the course of next year to aid the team at the World Cup in Spain. The funds have been given after the HPSNZ decided not to fund the Tall Blacks at all in 2013 citing a lack of confidence in the progress of the team.
“We did not support Basketball NZ last year because we did not have confidence that they were tracking towards the Olympic Games in 2020,” HPSNZ chief executive Alex Baumann said on Wednesday.
However, the Tall Blacks have qualified for the World Cup and they have a number of promising young players in their ranks.
Our investment will give them a leg up to see what they can do.
Basketball NZ presented us with a plan focused on international competition in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup and we are investing in that campaign.”
It is thought that the funding has been given in an attempt to further attract star rookie Steven Adams (man image), who is currently having a strong debut season with the Oklahoma Thunder in the NBA. Adams has already expressed numerous times that he has a desire to represent New Zealand at international level and it is thought the funding will help to insure the hot property player.
Selected 12th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, Adams has impressed in one of the NBA´s best teams and is averaging 17 minutes on the court. He is already considered one of the best players from Asia & Oceania of all times.
Basketball NZ chief executive Iain Potter said: “He’s (Adams) expressed on many occasions his desire to play for the Tall Blacks, but I think it will really help.
“Because it gives us a little bit of budget and it sends a signal to Steven and to others that High Performance Sport are backing them.”