New Zealand’s U18 3x3 (pron. three-on-three) basketball team has been named for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
The roster is made up of a fine selection of talent, most of which has featured regularly on New Zealand age-group five aside teams.
The team is:
Joseph Ahie (Wellington)
Thomas Whyte (Auckland)
Max de Geest (Waitaki)
James Moors (Auckland)
3x3 basketball has been contested at the two previous editions of the Youth Olympic Games, with the sport to make its full Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.
For de Geest the 3x3 selection is an extension of what has already been an impressive year. It’s been just over a week since de Geest returned from winning a silver medal with the Junior Tall Blacks at the FIBA U18 Asia Championships. Upon return he was also named as one of four development players for the SKYCITY Breakers. He was a key player for the Waitaha Canterbury Red team that won the Under 19 National Championships last June, where he was also named in the tournament team. At only 18, de Geest also played for the fifth-placed Canterbury Rams in the NBL this year.
Above: Max de Geest
James Moors was also part of the Junior Tall Blacks team at the FIBA U18 Asia Championships this month, with the selection a continuation of his surging success in recent years. Moors has signed an NCAA Division 1 basketball scholarship with Colorado State University, United States. The Westlake old boy has been a regular for Harbour Basketball, helping to win national titles during his time. Moors was also selected to play at the Nike All Asia Camp and the NBA's Asia Pacific Camp last year. He says the chance to play at the Youth Olympic Games is a dream come true.
“Having the opportunity to represent New Zealand at the Youth Olympic Games is a pretty amazing feeling. I’ve always wanted to compete at this competition so I’m very thankful for being selected and can’t wait to get on the court,” said Moors.
Above: James Moors
Thomas Whyte has also represented his province, playing for Auckland Basketball. He recently competed commendably at the U19 Nationals. Whyte also gained selection for the 2017 Nike All Asia Camp along with James Moors. Whyte has ambitions to attain a scholarship in the US and will be departing Auckland Grammar school to begin a post-graduate year at St Thomas More Prep School, Connecticut from September 2018.
Joseph Ahie, from Onslow College in Wellington, will be representing his school at the Secondary Schools Basketball Premierships early next month. Ahie last represented Wellington at the U19 Nationals and was also named in the tournament team. Ahie says the opportunity to play for New Zealand is a privilege.
“Representing New Zealand is such a huge honour to me. I'm excited to do it once again, especially at an event as huge as the Youth Olympic Games. It'll be an experience I'll never forget,” said Ahie.
The 2018 Youth Olympic Games will be the third summer youth Games, following those in Singapore in 2010 and Nanjing in 2014.
The Games are a pre-elite development opportunity for the world's most promising young athletes, allowing them to experience a multi-sport games environment while exposing them to learning and cultural opportunities and helping them on the performance pathway.
NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith extended her congratulations to the athletes.
“Well done to these young men for gaining selection for the Youth Olympic Games. We look forward to seeing you compete for New Zealand in just over a month.”
Three of the Youth Olympic team have also been named to play in the FIBA 3x3 U18 Asia Cup in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, 6 – 9 September. Only Ahie will not play in that team, partly on account of his commitment to the Secondary School Premierships next week.
The Youth Olympic Games will run from 6-18 October in Buenos Aires, Argentina.