Basketball: Lockwood happy to call NZ home

Casey Lockwood, who recently became a New Zealand citizen, hopes to lead the Otago Goldrush to a...
Casey Lockwood, who recently became a New Zealand citizen, hopes to lead the Otago Goldrush to a national title this week. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Last week, Casey Lockwood was running and yelling with excitement after being made a New Zealand citizen.

All the 25-year-old basketballer wants to do now is scream for joy when she takes to the court for the Otago Goldrush in the Women's Basketball Championship.

Lockwood credits Basketball New Zealand for backing her in her bid for citizenship and hopes to repay the organisation by making the national team and playing the best she can.

The American-born woman was playing in Southland and had just returned to Colorado for four months when Otago coach Brent Matehaere phoned her last year and enticed her to come to Dunedin for a crack at the top grade.

Matehaere said he contacted her on Facebook and offered her a spot in his squad after fellow team-mate Suzie Bates singled her out as a potential star.

"Casey is the type of player anyone would want on their team. She brings energy, wants to play and loves the game," Matehaere said.

Lockwood, who has suffered a chronic knee injury for the past 18 months that threatened to derail her career, jumped at the chance and there is no looking back.

Lockwood said the only reason she was playing now was because of the treatment she received from Dunedin trainer Rowan Ellis.

"I had tried other people with little success, but Rowan worked wonders. He is the best," she said.

The WBC starts on Thursday, with Otago playing in section A.

The Goldrush will meet four of the top-ranked sides in a round robin format to decide the semifinalists.

Lockwood said it was tough to play six games in three days but she was confident the team could do well.

Lockwood will be attending the Tall Ferns training camp in September and hopes to play in the Olympic qualifying tournament.

Longer term, she wants to be a regular member of the national squad and one day play in the Australian National Basketball League.

The WBC starts on Thursday at the Edgar Centre, and the final will be played on Saturday.


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