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NZL - Mix of veterans and youth challenge for Tall Blacks places
AUCKLAND (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Experience is not going to be in short supply when New Zealand coach Nenad Vucinic chooses his squad for the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Youth will not be, either.
Seven members of the Tall Blacks side that reached the Eight-Finals at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, and five others that featured at the 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, are in the 24-man preliminary group for this year's event in Spain.
There are also plenty of young faces. Eleven players are 22 or younger, including six teenagers.
The latter recently made headlines in China with solid performances at the Nike All Asia Camp in China.
Whether they make the final squad or not, each has a golden opportunity this summer to work under a veteran and highly-rated coach.
"Young players come with a lot of talent, confidence and enthusiasm into Tall Black camps," Vucinic said.
"Playing against experienced players is not easy for them and some struggle while others take the challenge well.
"For us coaches, it is a unique opportunity to test them in a pressure cooker environment."
New Zealand will play in Group C at the World Cup against the United States, Ukraine, Dominican Republic, Turkey and Finland.
Those games will be played in Bilbao.
New Zealand preliminary squad for 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup: Thomas Abercrombie, Benny Anthony, Everard Bartlett, Duane Bailey, Josh Bloxham, Finn Delany, Justin Edwards, Isaac Fotu, Casey Frank, Nick Horvath, Jarrod Kenny, Dyson King, Rob Loe, Izayah Mauriohooho Le’afa, Jordan Ngatai, Kirk Penney, Alex Pledger, Jack Salt, Lindsay Tait, Tohi Smith-Milner, Mika Vukona, Corey Webster, Tai Webster and Tai Wynyard.