Basketball dream in reach for giant 11-year-old

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 28/08/2014
Tafara
MAARTEN HOLL/FAIRFAX NZ

SHOOTING UP: Tafara Gapare, who is already 1.8m has being awarded the Steven Adams scholarship at Scots College. He's pictured with mates Harry Thomas, 9, left , and Cayden Alexander, 8.

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There's no nagging needed to get 11-year-old Tafara Gapare out of bed for basketball training in the morning.

He's up before his mum and rearing to go knowing that each training is one step closer to his dream of playing in the NBA.

The 1.8-metre pupil started at Scots College this week after receiving the Steven Adams Scholarship that will pay for his education at the school and any costs associated with the academy.

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Gapare has been at Adams' coach Kenny McFadden's academy since he was 8 - Adams had already come across him and had him in mind for the scholarship.

In fact this isn't the first time Oklahoma City Thunder player Adams has helped Gapare. In July last year he donated a pair of shoes to raise money to fund his trip with the academy to play basketball in the United States for a week.

The scholarship worth more than $130,000 for seven years tuition at the college would also include the extra tuition this year while Gapare is finishing year 6.

The family are no strangers to the expectation process with Gapare's older sister, Tanaka Gapare, also a rising star who is sitting exams to try and get into the US college system to play professional basketball.

The pair often practise at home together and are up early in the morning getting themselves to training with no pressure from mum, Mandy.

''They have to want to do it so I leave it to them to get up. They're the ones getting me up saying they're ready to go.''

Scots College headmaster Graeme Yule said he had already seen the way other students at the school had responded to Gapare's warm personality and good work ethic.

With a whopping size 13 basketball shoe to fill Gapare also knows he has other big shoes to fill with Adams keeping a watchful eye on him.

Tafara grinning from ear-to-ear said he planned to write to Adams and thank him for ''all he's done for me''.

His mum said she was in tears when she found out and couldn't believe the family's luck.

''I know that if the kids want to do well in sport they need the academic side as well. I know Scots will be the right place for him.''

She said Tafara had been putting his school uniform on constantly since they were told about the scholarship last week and she was excited about what the future held.

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- The Dominion Post

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