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Friday, September 3, 2010

New Zealand in the 2010 FIBA World Championship

Pero Cameron leading the Haka
One of the fastest developing basketball nations in the world for the last ten years is New Zealand. Rivaled only by Lebanon and Iran. This decade, the Tall Blacks qualified in two Olympic Games and three World Championships.

One player that pretty much defined New Zealand basketball for the last ten years was Kirk Penney. Of course, there was Sean Marks (New Zealand's first ever NBA player) earlier in the decade and the aging Pero Cameron (probably New Zealand's greatest player). However, what separate Kirk Penney from the other two New Zealand greats is that his career blossom at the same time as New Zealand basketball blossom. For the last three years, he was named in the Australian National Basketball League (ANBL) First Team and was the 2009 ANBL Most Valuable Player. As a basketball fan, I'm gonna go as far as saying he is the best player south of the Equator (yes, there's a certain basketball power named Argentina but most of their best players are playing in the Northern Hemisphere).

Anyway, the 2010 FIBA World Championship will be the fourth appearance for the Tall Blacks since 1986 with veterans Penney, Cameron, and Phill Jones playing in three of those four appearances. The three are last remnants of the 2002 Tall Blacks that made it to the semi-finals and finished 4th in the World Championships.

Here's New Zealand's record in the World Championship (host country):
  • 1986 FIBA World Championship (Spain): 21st place
  • 2002 FIBA World Championship (USA): 4th place
  • 2006 FIBA World Championship (Japan): 16th place
  • 2010 FIBA World Championship (Turkey): 12th place
Kirk Penney (Best Player South of the Equator), FIBA.com
Here's New Zealand current line-up:
  • Kirk Penney (captain)
  • Phillip Jones
  • Pero Cameron
  • Craig Bradshaw
  • Thomas Abercrombie
  • Benny Charles Anthony
  • Michael Fitchett
  • Casey Frank
  • Jeremy Kench
  • Alex Pledger
  • Lindsay Tait
  • Mika Vukona
  • Head coach: Nenad Vucinic
  • Assistant coach: Dillon Boucher

Group Stage Results:
Win-Loss Record: 3-2 (third place in Group D)

Eight-Finals:

2010 New Zealand Tall Blacks, FIBA.com
New Zealand's Most Valuable Players:


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