Tall Blacks lock in home series against Koreans
The Tall Blacks will kick off preparations for this year's World Cup in Spain with a three-test home series against South Korea at the end of July.
Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) yesterday locked in the World Cup-bound Koreans for a short visit that will be reciprocated by the New Zealand men's team en route to Europe for their main buildup programme.
BBNZ chief executive Iain Potter was rapt he was able to round out a solid preparation programme for the Tall Blacks with the chance to showcase them in front of their home fans for three tests.
The home series against the Koreans (venues are still to be decided) will follow an extensive selection camp, though it's highly unlikely that the Oklahoma City Thunder's Steven Adams will be available for the early part of preparations.
The Thunder have yet to make a decision on Adams' availability for the World Cup, though if they make it all the way to the NBA Finals he could be committed stateside well into June.
The hope is that OKC will view participation at the global event as a positive development tool for their rookie New Zealander, and will clear him to participate once he's had an appropriate break following the NBA season.
After the three tests in New Zealand, Nenad Vucinic's team are likely to head to Korea for an international series that will include a yet to be confirmed third side.
They will then travel to Europe to continue preparations, which will involve a four-team tournament in Lithuania that will also include Slovenia and Greece, and a series against Serbia.
BBNZ is continuing to explore other options in Europe that will take them through to a short final camp in Spain before their arrival in Bilbao on August 28.
"We are very pleased with the preparation programme," said Potter yesterday.
"It includes games in New Zealand which are valuable for building public support as well as games in Asia and against major European nations which should prepare the team well for what lies ahead."
The Tall Blacks will meet Turkey, Dominican Republic, USA, Ukraine and Finland in their pool in Spain, with the top four advancing to the first round of knockout play.