Adams' absence 'not a problem' for Tall Blacks

Last updated 05:00 08/07/2014
Steven Adams
Getty Images
KIWIS REALLY CAN FLY: Steven Adams jumps highest to score for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Relevant offers


Wellington Saints notch 15th consecutive win of 2017 NBL season Taranaki Mountain Airs to make amends in crucial game against Bay Hawks Giant forwards named in Junior Tall Blacks' Under-19 World Cup squad Cleveland Cavaliers through to NBA finals as LeBron James breaks Michael Jordan's playoff scoring record Rams forward Marques Whippy fed up with slow starts crippling team National Basketball League: Veteran Southland Sharks player Hayden Allen closing in on return Adnam's ready for a return to NBL action with Nelson Giants against unbeaten Saints Wellington Saints captain Damien Ekenasio looking for perfect end to 15-year NBL career Former Taranaki basketballer Craig Hickford overcoming odds in battle back from bike accident Tall Ferns assemble strong mix for tilt at world championships via Asia Cup

Tall Blacks coach Nenad Vucinic has no hard feelings about Steven Adams' decision to prioritise club over country.

While the national team opens its World Cup campaign with trials in Auckland today, Adams is in Orlando with the Oklahoma City Thunder's NBA summer league team.

"I don't have any problems with Steve not being available," Vucinic said. "I think it's very obvious that Steve is a good-hearted Kiwi boy and he will want to play for New Zealand in the future.

"I see Steve being one of the main players in the Tall Blacks in the years to come. My personal feel is that everything came a little bit too quick for him. Three years ago he was just a junior player here and now he's playing in the semifinals of the NBA.

"He probably needs a little bit of time to absorb that and then I'm sure he'll make himself available in the future. I would love to have him in the team . . . but they felt it's best for him not to play in the international programme this year. I respect that."

Vucinic will run the rule over 23 hopefuls at a two-day camp before selecting a 16-man squad on Thursday for the three-game series against Korea, starting in Wellington next Tuesday.

It is the first step in the Tall Blacks' preparations for the World Cup, to be held in Spain in August-September.

"It would have been nice if Steve was there but there's still a lot of great players that the New Zealand public is dying to see," Vucinic said.

"Even guys like Kirk [Penney], they haven't seen him for quite a while, he hasn't played the last two years for different reasons . . . obviously it would have been good to have somebody like Steve with the height and his athletic ability. And now experience as well, playing one year at such a high level. But we are used to playing a little bit shorter."

Forward/centre Rob Loe will also miss the Korea series after being named in the Golden State Warriors' NBA summer league team, tipping off on Saturday in Las Vegas.

"The last two years he played well for the Tall Blacks and he had a very good last season at St Louis [University]," Vucinic said. "We expect a lot from him and are very happy he's going to NBA summer league. We hope he's going to come back in very good form, to continue with us."

The other setback for Vucinic is the unavailability of Southland Sharks forwards Reuben Te Rangi and Leon Henry, who are facing assault charges and were not considered following their involvement in a New Plymouth bar brawl.

Ad Feedback

"A bit of a blow really," Vucinic said. "We're left a little bit light but there is a good opportunity for a lot of up-and-coming small forwards like Duane Bailey, Richie Edwards and Jordan Ngatai that can maybe make that extended squad."

Another of Vucinic's big decisions is the choice between Nick Horvath and Casey Frank as his one naturalised player.

- The Dominion Post

Special offers
Opinion poll

How do you expect the Breakers to perform in this season's Australian NBL?

Last season was a blip, they'll be champions once again

They'll go close to another title, beaten finalists I'd say

Playoffs for sure, but can't see them going any further

Not too excited, they'll miss the playoffs again

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content