8 May 2017

Changes to world cup pathway won't help Tall Blacks get Adams

12:48 pm on 8 May 2017

Changes to New Zealand's qualifying pathway for the basketball world cup won't increase NBA player Steve Adams prospects of finally playing for New Zealand.

Steven Adams

Steven Adams Photo: Supplied

The draw for the first phase of qualifying for the 2019 world cup have been made with the Tall Blacks to play Hong Kong, South Korea and China.

The top three teams from each pool will progress to the next round of qualifying, taking their points tally with them.

Should they progress, the Tall Blacks will then play a further three countries home and away, with the top three teams plus the best fourth place team from the two pools qualifying for the World Cup.

The Oceania zone is now combined with the Asian zone, with seven teams including hosts China eventually qualifying for the tournament.

All up 32 nations will contest the world cup.

New Zealand will host South Korea on November 23rd and three days later play Hong Kong in Hong Kong.

Paul Henare

Paul Henare Photo: Photosport

In 2018, they will travel to China on February 23rd and South Korea on February 26th, then close out the first round of qualifying by hosting Hong Kong on June 28th and China on July 1st.

The Tall Blacks will also be chasing a medal in the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April in a busy year for the team.

Tall Blacks coach Paul Henare said his side has been drawn in a good pool.

"China has been the mainstay and powerhouse in Asia for a long time now that is going to be a good battle against a really tough team."

The prospect of Steven Adams taking part remains slim however with Henare pointing out the international windows for the qualifiers not lining up with the NBA and USA college schedules.

"That will be interesting, the ones who definitely won't be available will be anyone in the NBA when FIBA windows clash with that season," he said.

"NBA and the USA college games don't sit under the FIBA rules where they have to break in those windows, so they are unlikely to be available."