Round-ball hoop game beckons for Genesis

Lytton High School student picked for New Zealand Basketball Academy under-15 team playing in Las Vegas.

Lytton High School student picked for New Zealand Basketball Academy under-15 team playing in Las Vegas.

Genesis Bartlett-Tamatea

DESPITE some “friendly” prompting from his father Ron Tamatea and brothers Kahu and Willis, who all played for the Poverty Bay rugby team, 15-year-old Genesis Bartlett-Tamatea has opted to pursue a career in basketball.

The Lytton High School student has been picked for the New Zealand Basketball Academy under-15 team to play in the prestigious Bigfoot Hoops tournament in Las Vegas in July.

“I was asked to attend a four-day trial camp in Wellington late last year and after being picked in the 12-man team I’ve been going to Wellington once a month for training camp,” said Genesis, who played first five-eighth for Lytton last year and is a shooting guard with the school basketball team.

“I’m not in the starting five but that doesn’t matter; we’ll all get court time in Las Vegas. I can’t wait to go over there, wear the silver fern and play.”

The tournament, which has been running for 20 years, is the place to be for all age groups to end the July recruiting and tournament season.

Last year, 1101 teams, including most of the top teams in the country, descended on Las Vegas for the 13-day event, “with four days downtime”.

“All the talent scouts from universities are there and it’s the chance for players to get basketball scholarships to play in the states,” Genesis said.

His mother, Tania Bartlett, put her hands over her ears when asked what would happen if Genesis attracted scholarship offers this time round.

“He is too young to go; I don’t want to hear that,” she said with a laugh.

“I know he’ll leave home some time but I’d prefer he stayed here, finished school and then went to university in New Zealand.”

How about Ron and the brothers, who wore the Bay jersey with pride — Ron and Kahu were the only father-and-son combination to play together in an NPC match (against East Coast in 2000) — how did they take the decision by Genesis to play basketball?

“They tried to get him to play rugby, especially for YMP and Gisborne Boys’ High School, but when they saw he was better at basketball, they all fully supported him,” Tania said.

“Ron and Genesis played together in a men’s basketball team a few years ago. He’s also played against his dad.

“Genesis started playing in the men’s division when he was nine and when he was 11 he went to Dunedin with the Ngati Porou u13 boys’ team for the Basketball New Zealand national tournament.

Genesis plays for Lytton in the men’s club basketball competition and Ngati Porou in age-group competitions.

His goals at this stage are to make the New Zealand u17 team and one day the Tall Blacks.

“I’d love to try to play NBA, but it’s tough,” he said.

“Not many Kiwis make it.”

One who has made it is Steven Adams, who is starring for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“I met him when he was in Auckland two years ago and he’ll be at the Bigfoot tournament. He’s one of the NZ Basketball Academy mentors.

“He was really cool; down to earth and not big-headed.”

Should Genesis not make it as a professional basketballer, he has his sights set on “going to university here or becoming a policeman”. . . following in Willis’s footsteps.

DESPITE some “friendly” prompting from his father Ron Tamatea and brothers Kahu and Willis, who all played for the Poverty Bay rugby team, 15-year-old Genesis Bartlett-Tamatea has opted to pursue a career in basketball.

The Lytton High School student has been picked for the New Zealand Basketball Academy under-15 team to play in the prestigious Bigfoot Hoops tournament in Las Vegas in July.

“I was asked to attend a four-day trial camp in Wellington late last year and after being picked in the 12-man team I’ve been going to Wellington once a month for training camp,” said Genesis, who played first five-eighth for Lytton last year and is a shooting guard with the school basketball team.

“I’m not in the starting five but that doesn’t matter; we’ll all get court time in Las Vegas. I can’t wait to go over there, wear the silver fern and play.”

The tournament, which has been running for 20 years, is the place to be for all age groups to end the July recruiting and tournament season.

Last year, 1101 teams, including most of the top teams in the country, descended on Las Vegas for the 13-day event, “with four days downtime”.

“All the talent scouts from universities are there and it’s the chance for players to get basketball scholarships to play in the states,” Genesis said.

His mother, Tania Bartlett, put her hands over her ears when asked what would happen if Genesis attracted scholarship offers this time round.

“He is too young to go; I don’t want to hear that,” she said with a laugh.

“I know he’ll leave home some time but I’d prefer he stayed here, finished school and then went to university in New Zealand.”

How about Ron and the brothers, who wore the Bay jersey with pride — Ron and Kahu were the only father-and-son combination to play together in an NPC match (against East Coast in 2000) — how did they take the decision by Genesis to play basketball?

“They tried to get him to play rugby, especially for YMP and Gisborne Boys’ High School, but when they saw he was better at basketball, they all fully supported him,” Tania said.

“Ron and Genesis played together in a men’s basketball team a few years ago. He’s also played against his dad.

“Genesis started playing in the men’s division when he was nine and when he was 11 he went to Dunedin with the Ngati Porou u13 boys’ team for the Basketball New Zealand national tournament.

Genesis plays for Lytton in the men’s club basketball competition and Ngati Porou in age-group competitions.

His goals at this stage are to make the New Zealand u17 team and one day the Tall Blacks.

“I’d love to try to play NBA, but it’s tough,” he said.

“Not many Kiwis make it.”

One who has made it is Steven Adams, who is starring for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“I met him when he was in Auckland two years ago and he’ll be at the Bigfoot tournament. He’s one of the NZ Basketball Academy mentors.

“He was really cool; down to earth and not big-headed.”

Should Genesis not make it as a professional basketballer, he has his sights set on “going to university here or becoming a policeman”. . . following in Willis’s footsteps.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you support the recent pay equity deal for aged care and disability support staff?