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Final preparations for NZ U17s ahead of FIBA World Cup

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Aon New Zealand Under 17 team is set to fly out for the FIBA Under 17 World Cup in Argentina, which tips-off Saturday, 30 June.

The team earned a spot in the World Cup after finishing third at the FIBA Asian Championship last April. It will be New Zealand’s first ever appearance at the U17 World Cup, although the New Zealand girls team will also line up this year for the same event, but in Minsk from 21 July.

The boys will tip-off proceedings against Egypt next Saturday morning at 4am NZT. Egypt come in as the 18th ranked team in the world, whereas New Zealand currently sit at 33. It’ll be a quick turnaround for the Kiwis as Montenegro, ranked No. 22, awaits them the following day. That game will tip-off at 7am.

The boys will have a day off before facing Canada on Tuesday at 4:45am. Canada come into the tournament as the second ranked team in the world at the FIBA Under 17 level.

Head Coach Dave Bublitz says the team is prepared and ready to roll.

"There has been real excitement among the group over the past couple of weeks. Everyone is fit and healthy, so we can get straight into our mahi on the Monday of our arrival," said Bublitz.

"We’ve got Dave McKay with us as Manager for this event. It’s great to have him back after working together in the U16s two years ago. Dave is stepping in for Del Whale who isn’t available for this window. She’s been a wonderful Manager for this team over the past year and we will miss her in Argentina, but know she’ll be supporting the boys from home in NZ."

Bublitz said the team’s pool is going to be tough but is confident New Zealand will be able to compete at a high level.

"We know that all the opposition are going to prove a challenge. All three teams were second in their respective tournaments, so will all provide a different challenge. We believe if we prepare well we can compete with each of them," said Bublitz.

The team will look slightly different to the team that competed in China back in April, but Bublitz said the boys know each other from past tournaments which should help with the transition.

"We have four new to the team; Anzac Rissetto, Mac Stodart, Sam Jenkins and Ezrah Vaiagfa. Ezrah and Anzac have been with the majority of the group in previous campaigns, so there should be a reasonably smooth transition."

All of the games will be livestreamed on FIBA’s Youtube channel, and you can also watch New Zealand’s games on the Basketball New Zealand Facebook page.

Team schedule (all times NZT):

- 30 June vs. Egypt at 4am

- 1 July vs. Montenegro at 7am

- 3 July vs. Canada at 4:45am

- 4-8 July, knockout rounds

The full team roster traveling to Argentina can be found HERE.

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