Former Silver Fern named in Tall Ferns team

Last updated 09:41 13/08/2014
Jess Tuki
BEN CURRAN/Fairfax NZ
CODE SWITCH: Former Silver Fern Jess Tuki has been named in the Tall Ferns team for a tournament in China.

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Eight players are set for Tall Ferns debuts in the Four Nation basketball tournament held in China this month.

Only four members of the 12-player squad have Tall Ferns experience, with Toni Edmondson, Samara Gallaher, Kate Fielding and Jessica Bygate named in the squad.

The squad includes former Silver Fern Jess Tuki and Waikato school girl Krystal Leger-Walker.

Coach Kennedy Kereama said he is energised by the challenge of taking an inexperienced team to China for the Four Nation tournament.

''We always talk about the talent pool being a little shallow in New Zealand women's basketball so here is an opportunity to strengthen it,'' he said.

''Some of these young women will have an opportunity to measure themselves against some of the best in the world with China, a WNBA All Star team and a Slovenian team also in China.

''The 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast is our only confirmed next major event (Rio is subject to qualification), this gives us a great chance to give some of the younger players that will potentiality push for spots in this team a chance to gain a better understanding of what international basketball is all about.''

Kereama said the new talent added to the team will learn quickly from the experienced core of the side.

''I am very interested to see how our three Junior Tall Ferns involved with this group go on tour, I believe all three could be major players for the Tall Ferns anytime from now and the next ten years. 

''Krystal Leger-Walker has been outstanding in camp and shows poise and skill well beyond her years.

''We know the tour is going to be tough and I have been constantly reminding the players of what we are up against. 

''However I think talking about it and preparing that way is one thing, experiencing it for yourself will be something entirely different.''

Kereama has named two reserves who will be on standby through the next week as the team prepares at a Christchurch camp before departing for China on August 19.

Tall Ferns team for China: Jessica Bygate, Shea Crotty, Antonia Edmondson, Kate Fielding, Deena Franklin, Samara Gallaher, Krystal Leger-Walker, Natasha Lenden, Josephine Stockill, Dru Toleafoa, Jessica Tuki, Maia Wilson. Reserves: Brooke Blair, Hayley Gray.

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