Tall Blacks’ schedule confirmed

The Tall Blacks’ initial path to the next World Cup has been revealed.

They have been drawn in a pool with South Korea, Philippines and India for the first round of qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup.

The Tall Blacks, ranked 25th in the world, enter as the highest-ranked team in their group.

South Korea is 29th, the Philippines 31st and India 78th. Teams have to finish in the top three to advance to the second round.

Eight teams from the Asia region qualify for the World Cup, although two of those spots are guaranteed to host Japan and the Philippines. The qualifying games will begin in November.

Basketball New Zealand head of high performance Leonard King feels the draw presents an exciting challenge for the Tall Blacks, after a long time off the court.

“The recent postponement of the Asia Cup has meant that our Tall Blacks programme has had to reset and adjust our campaign plans.

‘‘Our sole focus is now to qualify for Fiba World Cup 2023. In order to do that we must go through Korea, the Philippines, and India.

“Yes, we have had a few challenging years but excuses aren’t in our play book. Despite Covid throwing us multiple curve balls, we will head into the World Cup qualifiers prepared and focused on achieving our goal of qualifying.

“We are expecting to introduce a number of fresh faces to the Tall Blacks team over the World Cup qualifying competition, and it will be exciting to see how well the youth complement our experienced players in the build-up to the 2023 World Cup.”

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