New Zealand Rumors

Josh Pace ’05, a key member of Syracuse’s 2003 NCAA Championship squad, has decided to retire from professional basketball at the conclusion of the current American Basketball Association (ABA) season. A 6-5 guard-forward, Pace has played professionally all around the world since earning his undergraduate degree from Syracuse in 2005. Pace was not selected in the 2005 NBA Draft but did earn an invitation to play in the NBA Summer League for the Utah Jazz. He did not earn an NBA contract but it 2006 signed with the Nelson Giants of the New Zealand National Basketball League (NBL). He averaged 19.1 points and 6.6 rebounds and was named an NBL All-Star. The following season, Pace was named the league’s MVP after helping the Giants to the NBL championship.
Is Andre Iguodala on your list for this season, for what happened this summer? (Iguodala poked fun at New Zealand traditional pregame dance – the haka – during the FIBA World Cup, Adams seemingly took offense on Twitter, saying “@andre, show some respect for my culture.”) Steven Adams: Oh, he’s alright. He’s all good. I just read (Iguodala’s comments) in the morning and it kinda got to me. It wasn’t like anything bad or anything. It was just misinformed, I guess. I knew he meant it not to downplay New Zealand. I just thought differently about it. Hopefully he come down to New Zealand. He’s still a good dude.
wpid-i_d0_e7_73_usatsi_7458147.jpg
“I’ve tried not to grow up too fast. There are going to be some times I’m like, you know, immature. But you try to keep that professional approach, and try to do the right thing which is what all athletes do to make sure they reflect well on whatever, like from their town. “For me once I go out there to America I’m pretty much representing all of New Zealand because most people haven’t met New Zealand people, so I have to take that into consideration. If I’m like a dick, then they’re like New Zealand guys are dicks. If you’ve just got a normal Kiwi attitude then they’re fine with it. That’s one of the key things.”
From the earliest days of the fabled Zarko Paspalj era in the late 1980s, the Spurs have been at the forefront of international scouting. No surprise, then, that they once again have the most players born outside the continental United States, breaking their own NBA record with 10: Tim Duncan (U.S. Virgin Islands), Manu Ginobili (Argentina), Tony Parker (France, by way of Belgium), Tiago Splitter (Brazil), Boris Diaw (France), Marco Belinelli (Italy), Nando De Colo (France), Patty Mills (Australia), Cory Joseph (Canada), Aron Baynes (Australia, by way of New Zealand).
Adams will also make an announcement on his international availability for the Tall Blacks and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that the news should be positive. In June Adams became the first Kiwi to be picked in the first round of the NBA draft when the Thunder selected him at No 12. He is unavailable for the Tall Blacks’ series against Australia but is taking a short break from training in Oklahoma to make a string of appearances in New Zealand.
Well, the Middle East isn’t exactly the Middle-earth of New Zealand but Ingles has few qualms and more than a few options now that his time at Barcelona appears to be done. Taking his A-game – which also has seen him win an NBL championship and the league’s Rookie of the Year accolade in 2007 – to the NBA remains on the agenda. It’s just not as pressing as some might believe. “The NBA isn’t the be-all and end-all,” he admitted. “Yes, there has been some (NBA) interest but there’s interest from teams in Europe as I’m coming off three pretty good years at Barcelona.”
Hopes of Steven Adams pulling on a Tall Blacks singlet against Australia next month have been dashed with the Oklahoma City Thunder saying he will remain in the United States to continue his NBA education. Basketball New Zealand had raised some optimism after declaring they were willing to stump up the $25,000-plus to cover Adams’ insurance costs. The Tall Blacks play Australia in a home-and-away series which opens on the North Shore on August 14. But a Thunder spokesman told The Dominion Post that: “Steven will remain in the States to continue his training here during that time.”
New Zealand Breakers and Tall Blacks basketball star Tom Abercrombie is off to the United States for a “now-or-never” crack at an NBA contract. Abercombie flies out of Auckland tomorrow for mini-camp opportunities with NBA franchises the San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks. The Spurs currently lead the NBA finals 1-0 and feature former Tall Blacks captain Sean Marks as a key executive.
New Zealand Breakers jumping jack Tom Abercrombie has the NBA summer leagues lined up in August if the Tall Blacks do not make the London Olympics. Abercrombie, 24, was in Christchurch yesterday for a fundraising lunch and last night spoke at the Mid-Canterbury sportsman of the year awards in Ashburton. He will look to pursue his NBA dream this northern summer showcasing his skills in the American summer leagues where players can get picked up by clubs for a shot at the big time.
Dwight Howard, in town as part of a promotional tour and scheduled to address the prospects on Monday, made a surprise appearance Sunday to join New Zealand’s junior national rugby team, in town for a tournament, to do the Haka at midcourt. A pre-game Haka, a traditional dance from the country, is a great moment no matter what. The Magic’s gregarious center in the spirit and putting full-throated energy into the Haka is even better.