Academy star's slam dunk
Yuat Alok, 17, stands 2.1m tall. That's 12cm taller than basketball legend Michael Jordan.
It's his height and skill that make the Glen Innes teen a perfect prospect for the Breakers.
Alok is a member of the Breakers Academy and has just returned from the Nike All Asia Camp in China.
"China was a great experience, I really liked it there.
"It was really hard, the coaching was different, so was the food, the environment and the players.
"Communicating with the other players was tough because they didn't speak English."
After putting in a strong performance at the camp Alok was selected to play in the all-star game where he and fellow Breakers academy player Tai Wynyard put on a clinic.
"We played together and we basically destroyed the other team in the first quarter," he says.
"Because we are in the academy together we knew how we both play and just worked together."
Camp director and former Perth Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge is full of praise for Alok.
"His energy and passion for playing was infectious. He got better as the week went on and played with great confidence."
Breakers Academy head coach Judd Flavell is proud of the way Alok embraced the opportunity.
"It's almost like the penny has dropped for him and he has realised how good he could be with basketball.
"His potential is through the roof, he is definitely one of those athletes who can go on and become a Breaker."
Alok came to New Zealand from Kenya in 2005 with his family in search of a better life and more opportunities.
"It was life-changing coming here, I absolutely love it."
Basketball is not a popular sport in Kenya so as a child Alok played football.
He took up basketball during his first year of high school in New Zealand and because of his height it wasn't long before the Breakers showed interest.
"I love being with the Breakers," he says.
"I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for them. We are like a family, we are real tight."
The Breakers Academy provides a pathway for Alok and should he decide to stay on it gives assistance in continued education through a partnership with Massey University.
Alok has dreams to play college ball in the United States and to one day represent the Breakers in the Australian National Basketball League.
The year 12 Rangitoto College student is now boarding on the North Shore to be close to his training sessions but every weekend makes the trip over the bridge to visit his family in Glen Innes.
- East And Bays Courier
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