The Tall Blacks have missed out on funding from High
Performance Sporting New Zealand next year.
"It's obviously very disappointing for us," said Basketball
New Zealand boss Iain Potter. "We had hoped to provide our
men with the best possible chance of beating Australia in the
FIBA Oceania qualifying series next year and taking the
zone's top seeding into the World Cup in Spain in 2014.
"We know we're still capable of that, but this makes things a
whole lot harder."
The funding decision follows a year in which the Tall Blacks
failed to qualify for the London Olympics. Captain Kirk
Penney and forward Tom Abercrombie both missed the qualifying
tournament in Venezuela through injury.
"While we firmly believe the future of the Tall Blacks looks
bright in terms of coaching and playing talent, the cold hard
fact is that HPSNZ [High Performance Sporting NZ] funding
rewards past results, and we fell short of our target this
year," said Potter.
"It's very difficult to win Olympic medals or achieve a
top-six placing when playing a truly international sport like
basketball - but we have done it before and we believe we can
do it again.
"We've been here before, and I know coach Nenad Vucinic, his
players and the whole basketball community will want to prove
that we are a genuine international competitor."
With Oceania claiming two spots in the 24-team World Cup
draw, New Zealand, ranked 18th in the world, is virtually
assured of qualifying.