01 - 09
July 2017
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Wynyard among four big Junior Tall Blacks for Cairo 2017

WELLINGTON (FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017) - Star center Tai Wynyard will be among a quartet of bigs standing 6ft 10in (2.08m) or taller on the New Zealand roster for the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017.

Junior Tall Blacks head coach Daryl Cartwright named his 12-man side for the 1-9 July championship in Cairo and will bring with him a healthy supply of low post players.

In addition to Wynyard, who is 6ft 10in (2.08m) tall, also on the team will be 7ft 1in (2.12m) Callum McRae and Angus McWilliam and Sam Waardenburg, who are both 6ft 10in (2.08m) as well.

"As coaches we stood on the sideline at our final camp and we see a guy at 7ft 1in and others at 6ft 10in vying for places on the team. That is a big lineup and would have to be the biggest junior national team ever assembled, bigger than most Tall Black teams from the past few years," Cartwright said.

New Zealand's 12-man roster for FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup
Joshua Aitcheson Flynn Cameron  Tobias Cameron  Quinn Clinton
Toby Gillooly Isaac Letoa Hamish McDonald Callum McRae
Angus McWilliam Taane Samuel Samuel Waardenburg Tai Wynyard

The roster also includes a pair of brothers from one of the legends in New Zealand basketball in Pero Cameron’s sons Tobias and Flynn. The younger brother of Tall Blacks star Isaac Fotu, Dan Fotu, is not on the team as he nurses an injury. Two other absolute leaders will be Sam Waardenburg, who was the leading scorer for New Zealand at the FIBA U18 Oceania Championship, and Quinn Clinton, who hit two important three-pointers in the closing minutes in the victory over Australia in the final.

That win secured New Zealand their first qualification to the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup - and second participation after serving as the host country in 2009.

"One of the things we pushed at the Oceania Qualifiers is that 'everything is impossible until someone does it for the first time' and of course we were massively proud as a group to defeat Australia and achieve a first for a New Zealand team with a hugely talented group of young men," Cartwright said. "They are also young men of great character, with wonderful family support to help them get to where we are today."

In addition to Fotu, also missing from the U18 team from Fiji will be Samson Aruwa and Takiula Fahrensohn. Taking those three spots are Wynyard, who was in the United States playing for the University of Kentucky last December, the big man McWilliam and Toby Gillooly.

New Zealand are drawn into Group A of the tournament in Cairo against European champions France, Asian powerhouses Korea and Argentina, who were granted the spot from FIBA Americas after the suspension of Brazil was confirmed.

"We don't take notice of outside pressure. Our sole goal when taking over the role going to Oceania was to qualify so they had the opportunity to play at a FIBA World Cup. Now is not the time to celebrate that and just go for the ride," Cartwright said.

"Our goal is to come out of pool play into the Round of 16 with as high a ranking as we can achieve, that will help us with the crossover game in the Round of 16. Any kind of silverware would be nice of course, but we are not getting ahead of ourselves. Our focus is on pool play and one game at a time."