18 Jun 2012

Newcomers named in Tall Blacks

1:06 pm on 18 June 2012

Four players will make their Tall Blacks debuts as attrition left the selection of the squad for next month's FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Venezuela a simple process.

When forward Isaac Fotu withdrew to prepare for his upcoming scholarship at University of Hawaii, coach Nenad Vucinic was left with just 12 candidates for 12 spots and no decisions left to make.

The team departs for Australia on Wednesday and Vucinic must now hope there are no more injuries or withdrawals before then.

All four debutants are guards.

The 17-year-old Tai Webster, the 22-year-old Breakers development player Josh Bloxham, 32-year-old veteran Hayden Allen and Everard Bartlett are the newcomers.

In the end, the biggest decision Vucinic, along with assistant coaches Pero Cameron and Paul Henare, had to make was who should fill the one naturalised spot available on the roster.

That position has gone to incumbent Casey Frank, who beat out the challenges of guard Kevin Braswell and forward Marcel Jones.

The Tall Blacks will contest the OQT in Caracas from July the 2nd to the 8th, hoping to earn one of three spots still remaining in the men's draw at London.

New Zealand faces Macedonia and Angola in pool play.