Basketball: Tall Blacks miss out on funding

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.


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