Meet the Asia Cup 2022 Teams: New Zealand
JAKARTA (Indonesia) - Witnessing the Haka being performed before a basketball game will always be a unique experience, one which the fans in Lebanon at FIBA Asia Cup 2017 were a part of. The fans in Indonesia will get to see that for themselves at Asia Cup 2022.
That’s because the Tall Blacks are back for a second consecutive trip to the FIBA Asia Cup.
Let’s take a quick moment to meet New Zealand in this "Meet the Teams" series!
World Rank according to FIBA World Ranking Presented by Nike: 27
New Zealand are slightly down from where they were when the Asia Cup 2022 Qualifers started - at 24.
It’s not that big of a dip to be concerned about, but certainly one to be wary of heading into Asia Cup 2022 with teams like China and Korea closing the gap.
Asia Cup Debut: 2017
Along with Australia, New Zealand made their debut in the Asia Cup in 2017. Let’s just say that they did pretty well.
Asia Cup Appearances (including 2022): 2
This will be the Tall Black’s second straight appearance at the Asia Cup. There’s plenty of talent in the current set of players in the talent pool and in the upcoming group of youngsters to keep this streak of appearances going for a long time.
Most Recent Appearance: 2017
Of course, as New Zealand made their debut in 2017, that was also their most recent appearance as well. While Australia took most of the spotlight by winning the Asia Cup in their very first try, New Zealand’s run was not too bad either.
Best Position in Final Standings: 4th place (2017)
New Zealand had a great start playing in the Asia Cup with a win against Kazakhstan and doubled-down with a follow up victory against 2017 hosts Lebanon, 86-82.
It would have been a picture perfect beginning if the Tall Blacks went through the Group Phase undefeated, but instead, they lost to Korea by the smallest margin, 76-75.
New Zealand still ended up at the top of Group C, however, and made it through to the Semi-Finals with a win over Jordan.
Notable Player(s): Shea Ili
Obviously, the Tall Blacks have a rich history of very talented players. If we’re focusing on Asia Cup talents, however, you can’t go wrong with Shea Ili.
Ili was a member of the All-Star Five of the competition, leading the team in efficiency (16.0 per game), points (15.5 per game), and assists (5.8 per game).
His best game was in the Quarter-Finals clash against Jordan, putting up 19 points and 13 assists on 8-14 shooting to help the Tall Blacks get the win.
How they got here:
New Zealand claimed their ticket to Jakarta after making history in their very first game of the Asia Cup Qualifiers. In a game that was hosted in Brisbane, New Zealand were able to beat the Boomers, marking the first time in over 10 years that they’ve been able to do so.
After claiming another win against Guam, the Tall Blacks were confirmed a trip back to the Asia Cup.
Current Outlook: Steady
The situation seems steady for New Zealand at the moment. They have a steady core of players that are ready to step up from Tom Vodanovic, Dion Prewster, and Rob Loe as seen from their recent performances at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers.
Whenever they can combine all the pieces of the puzzle with Ili and Te Rangi among others as they’ve did through, the Tall Blacks should be a contender at the Asia Cup once again.