Asia camp will test top Kiwi talent
Former Tall Black and New Zealand Breakers legend Paul Henare believes young Canterbury basketballer Shou Nisbet is a player worth watching in the coming years.
Henare first spotted 15-year-old Nisbet at the New Zealand under-17 men's trials in Auckland earlier this year, and said the Burnside High School pupil caught his eye straight away.
He heaped praised on Nisbet and said elements of his play were reminiscent of Tall Black and Breakers star Thomas Abercrombie.
"When I first saw him, the way he moves around the court, he reminded me of Tom Abercrombie. Not in terms of the jumping ability, but his lateral quickness was good and he's got speed. I really like him," Henare said.
Nisbet's burgeoning basketball career has received another fillip, with selection for the Asia Pacific Team Camp in China from June 13-16, which is presented by Nike and the NBA.
He has been chosen along with nine other promising young men's basketballers from around New Zealand. The camp will assemble some of the best junior talent from around New Zealand, Australia, China and Korea, with a focus on skill and fundamentals, and also team concepts and competitions.
The players will learn the game from NBA coaches and players, and Nisbet, who is in the New Zealand under-17 men's side, could barely contain his excitement when selected. Former St Andrew's College student Jackson Stent, who is now living in North Harbour, is also in the contingent.
Nisbet hoped his hero, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, will be in China for the coaching clinic.
"I'm real excited to go there," Nisbet said.
"Anyone's cool, but I'd love to see Stephen Curry. He's my favourite NBA player. He's a cash shooter. He's just the man."
The 10 New Zealand players will be accompanied by Emerging Junior Tall Blacks assistant coach Seth Weakley, and will be a valuable lead-in for the under-17 squad members, who face Australia in a three-test Oceania qualifiying series in Melbourne in September.
Weakley said the boys only needed to cover their domestic airfares to Auckland, with Nike and the Chinese Basketball Association paying for the remainder of their flights, food and accommodation.
The 188cm Nisbet has switched between the shooting guard and small forward positions growing up, but New Zealand age-group coaches moved him to the point guard spot in January.
Nisbet has slowly been learning the role, and said he was becoming accustomed to the ball handling and leadership responsibilities of the point guard position.
Henare said his unique skillset made him an intriguing prospect and was optimistic about his potential.
"If he could develop those point guard skills, and with his athleticism and size at the point, he could be really good."
Weakley believed the Chinese trip would be a wonderful chance for the young New Zealand players to learn off some of the best basketball minds in the world. It would also be the first time they had played against Asian opposition, who traditionally possess plenty of height.
Weakley liked Nisbet's athleticism and his mental toughness, and said the NBA camp would be a great chance to see how much his game had improved since the beginning of the year.
"It will be a good test for him, and us, to gauge where he's at, and whether we need to help him out a bit more.
"It's the first real chance for these guys to play international opposition and be in that pressure, where they don't really know what the other team is like."
Nisbet has played basketball since the age of 4, and has steadily worked his way through the age-group ranks, playing for the Canterbury under-12, 13, 14, 15, and 17 representative sides.
Last year, he went to Australia with the New Zealand Koru under-16 development team.