He won't be pulling on a Tall Blacks singlet at the World Cup, but Steven Adams will still be inspiring the next generation of Kiwi basketballers next month.
Adams, who completed a successful National Basketball Association rookie season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, will run a New Zealand Basketball Academy camp at Wellington's ASB Sports Centre on August 17.
He will be bringing some famous friends, including Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti and "multiple" Thunder players and coaches.
It remains to be seen whether that means superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook or rookies Mitch McGary and Josh Huestis.
But either way, New Zealand Basketball Academy spokesman Peter Gosnell is promising "the largest basketball training event ever in New Zealand."
Adams ran a Wellington camp last year, with the help of Brooklyn Nets All-Star Brook Lopez.
"It will be a similar setup to last year but this time we've got a bit more warning," Gosnell said.
"We've basically booked out the whole stadium. We're going to have 12 courts up and running and hope to have 1000 kids. It's about giving kids the opportunity to hang out with the players and coaches, and getting inspired. It will be a real buzz."
The presence of the NBA high-fliers is made possible through Kenny McFadden, Adams' mentor and NZBA's director of coaching.
"It's just building on that relationship that Steven and Kenny have with the Thunder," Gosnell said.
"Steven always wants to do something special for Kiwi kids and each year we hope to make it bigger and better. The Thunder are a very community-focused organisation and their players run basketball camps around the world. In terms of talent, there's no doubt New Zealand has been under-recruited for players. Steven and Kenny are opening doors for other Kiwi players."
Gosnell said NZBA was being inundated with emails and phone calls from colleges in the United States on the hunt for the next Adams.
Tai Wynyard, 16, who became the youngest-ever Tall Black this month, is another success story.
"Our goal and vision is to develop players to play for the Tall Blacks and Tall Ferns to put New Zealand in a position to win a World Cup," Gosnell said. "That's the dream. We've got eight teams in Las Vegas right now and they're having some phenomenal results. The programme is going from strength to strength."
The Wellington camp will be first-in, first-served when applications open. Pricing is yet to be confirmed
- The Dominion Post
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