Steve Adams puts studies ahead of Tall Blacks

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 05:00 09/06/2012
Steve Adams
PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
STEVE ADAMS: NBA aspirations have taken priority over joining the Tall Blacks on their Venezuelan tour.

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Steve Adams has joined Kirk Penney and Thomas Abercrombie as a non-starter for next month's Olympic-qualifying tournament in Venezuela.

While Penney and Abercrombie have been hobbled by injury, Adams is focusing on settling into life at the University of Pittsburgh, leaving the Tall Blacks seriously short of star power.

"They've got Alex Pledger but, with Kirk gone and Thomas gone now, I'm sure it's very disappointing for the campaign," said Adams' mentor and coach, Kenny McFadden.

"I mean without a doubt he would have boosted the team. But he's at summer school and the timing is not good."

The Tall Blacks squad assembles for trials in Auckland on Wednesday in preparation for the 12-team tournament from July 2-8.

McFadden said Adams would be available for selection at the London Olympics should New Zealand overcome the odds and secure one of the three remaining berths in the draw.

"Without a doubt, because it would be a wide open window. He wants to play but a lot of people have to realise, especially guys at that age who have those aspirations, there's a lot of different people pulling at him. The window of opportunity for the NCAA is a very short one when you're looking at the path of trying to get to the NBA."

The giant Wellington teenager is ranked by ESPN as the sixth best college recruit of the 2012 class and many are tipping him to play just a single season before entering the NBA draft.

But McFadden said his prodigy was not getting ahead of himself, focusing on his business and social science studies and getting in shape for the college season.

"They've got an off-season workout programme, I talked to him a couple of days ago and his body was tingling.

"Their strength and conditioning co-ordinator is really putting them through their paces," McFadden said.

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- The Dominion Post

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