Timmins named in Cup squad

Sam Timmins of the Washington Huskies. Photo: Getty Images
Sam Timmins of the Washington Huskies. Photo: Getty Images
Sam Timmins has been included in the Tall Blacks' initial World Cup squad - although he may have some big competition for a spot.

The Otago centre was one of 25 to be named in the squad, which also includes NBA star Steven Adams.

They were two of six centres named in the team, which is to be cut to 12 before the Cup in China beginning on August 31.

Adams' availability remains to be confirmed. However, his inclusion allows the Tall Blacks to continue talks with the big man as to whether he will make his international debut.

"What he would bring to the team is international size," coach Paul Henare said.

"What he can do at the defensive end of the floor is phenomenal, with his ability to block and change shots, and what he does from a rebounding perspective at both ends of the floor.

"That is something we have rarely had at our disposal is that genuine size and athleticism at that pivot spot."

Experienced duo Alex Pledger and Rob Loe were also named in the group, while Tyrell Harrison and Yuat Alok join Timmins as the youngsters.

Timmins made his debut for the Tall Blacks in 2017. He has since finished his third season at the University of Washington, which he helped to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Southland Sharks forward Tom Vodanovich was another to be named in the squad.

The remainder of the team possesses a mix of experience and youth.

Henare said experience would be key and in Mika Vukona and Tom Abercrombie there were two players that had been to multiple World Cups.

"We have a really good variety of talent across all positions.

"In the guards we have guys that can play multiple positions and it is the same with our bigs.

"We also have genuine size, which is not something that Tall Black sides have had in the past."

New Zealand is one of five countries to make it out of pool play at the past four World Cups - the United States, Spain, Serbia and Argentina being the others.

To do that again it needs to finish in the top two in a pool which also contains Greece, Brazil and Montenegro.

Before that, the Tall Blacks will play games in Japan, Australia and China in the lead-in to the tournament.

Tall Blacks squad

Guards: Tai Webster, Shea Ili, Jarrod Kenny, Corey Webster, Ethan Rusbatch, Kruz Perrott-Hunt, Taine Murray, Taylor Britt. Forwards: Tom Abercrombie, Reuben Te Rangi, Jordan Ngatai, Dan Fotu, Isaac Fotu, Finn Delany, Mika Vukona, Max Darling, Tom Vodanovich, Yanni Wetzell, Tohi Smith-Milner. Centres: Steven Adams, Sam Timmins, Alex Pledger, Tyrell Harrison, Yuat Alok, Rob Loe.


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