NZ hope for NBA star

Last updated 13:00 22/07/2010

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Boston Celtics centre Kendrick Perkins is a long-term project to play for the Tall Blacks.

New Zealand assistant coach Dillon Boucher said the NBA star was on their radar as a prospective member of the national squad, although not for the upcoming world championships in Turkey.

Perkins' estranged father Kenny Perkins lives in Christchurch and was a veteran of the New Zealand National Basketball League in the 1980s and 90s.

"I believe some contact has been made with his father," Boucher told the Waikato Times.

"He's out for about six months now with an injury but we'll probably go down that avenue in the next year or so.

"We don't know what his eligibility will be in terms of being able to play for us but it's definitely something worth pursuing.

"It would be awesome to have him playing for the Tall Blacks."

The 25-year-old Perkins has been the starting centre for the Boston Celtics, but missed the title-deciding Game Seven of the NBL finals won by the Los Angeles Lakers last month due to his knee injury.

Perkins averaged 6.2 rebounds and 5.7 points per game during the 2010 NBA playoffs for the Celtics and would give the Tall Blacks an imposing presence at centre they have lacked since Sean Marks stepped down from international duty.

Boucher said he hoped the lure of international representation would tempt Perkins.

"The Olympic Games and the world champs would be a pretty big carrot for him I'd imagine," Boucher said. IAN ANDERSON

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- Waikato Times

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