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Henare brings in 14 players to training camp before Asia Cup

3 Shea Ili (NZL)
3 Shea Ili (NZL) - New Zealand v France, FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Manila - Mall of Asia Arena (Philippines), Group Phase, 7 July 2016

AUCKLAND (FIBA Asia Cup 2017) - Six players that recently toured China with a New Zealand Select and four members of the country's squad at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup staged in Egypt have been invited to the Tall Blacks' first training camp ahead of next month's FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon.

Tall Blacks coach Paul Henare, having previously announced more senior members would not feature at the Asia Cup because of the need to get experience for players ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asia Qualifiers, has also brought in Shea Ili and Reuben Te Rangi.

The four youngsters that just competed in Egypt and have been invited to the camp in Auckland (July 20-26) are Quinn Clinton, Taane Samuel, Isaac Letoa and Callum McRae.

New Zealand 14-man squad ahead of  FIBA Asia Cup 2017
Luke Aston Quinn Clinton Finn Delany James Hunter Shea Ili
Dyson King-Hawea Isaac Letoa Callum McRae Jordan Ngatai Derone Raukawa
Ethan Rusbatch Taane Samuel Reuben Te Rangi Sam Timmins  

"Many of the players in contention for the Asia Cup have experience of at least one New Zealand Select tour, so have a better understanding of what it is to play internationally and represent New Zealand, making the step into the Tall Blacks an easier one to handle," Henare said.

Luke Aston, Finn Delany, James Hunter, Dyson King-Hawea, Derone Raukawa and Reuben Te Rangi were in the New Zealand Select team that just toured China and signed off with an impressive victory over Cameroon.

"There is also a core group here that while young, already have experience with the Tall Blacks, with Shea Ili, Reuben Te Rangi, Finn Delany, Derone Raukawa, Ethan Rusbatch and Jordan Ngatai all having worn the black singlet before, many of them at the Olympic qualifiers in the Philippines last year."

Ili, Raukawa and Ngatai were members of the team that beat the Philippines and suffered narrow defeats to France and Canada at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila. Rusbatch was the last player cut before that tournament.

Te Rangi played for the Tall Blacks at the 2015 FIBA Oceania Championship

Basketball New Zealand said that players not considered included Tai Wynyard (not released), Jack Salt (injury), Mike Karena (injury), Dan Fotu (injury) and Mitch Newton (injury), Izayah Leafa (not available), Yanni Wetzel (not released), Matt Freeman (not released) and others with commitments at their respective universities in the United States.

At the FIBA Asia Cup, which tips off August 8 in Beirut, New Zealand will go up against Kazakhstan, Korea and Lebanon in Group C.

"This will be a great group to work with, and one that has the potential to surprise in Beirut," Henare said. "But this is also a great investment in the depth of our game, with these players almost certainly needing to be ready to play their part over the next three years as we build towards the ultimate goal of Tokyo 2020."

In the World Cup Asia Qualifiers, New Zealand will play First Round games both home and away against Korea, Hong Kong and China. First up will be a November 23 clash with the Koreans in New Zealand.