US college basketball team in city

Otago leaves to compete for the under-23 national basketball championship next week — but first it will meet a team of touring Americans.

Athletes in Action will be in Dunedin and are set to play three games against local opposition at the Edgar Centre.

Made up of American division one and two college players, the side is on an eight-game tour of New Zealand.

The Otago under-23 men are the first to go up against the Americans on Monday night, before leaving for their national championships a day later.

The University club team will play the tourists on Tuesday afternoon, before the Otago University Games team — made up of players from all clubs who attend the university — plays them on Wednesday.

Mitchell Langton — coach of all three teams — said it was very good preparation.

He was expecting the Americans to be athletic, big and smart, although the Otago sides were staying focused on themselves.

"This game’s more about us working on ourselves and understanding each individual player and how we create this team environment for us to go forward.

"Yes there will be emphasis on rebounding and stuff like that, but nothing too drastic is going to change in our approach for the game."

The side has been to Dunedin before, most recently touring two years ago and playing a University of Otago team.

That team posted a big win and was led by Rashawn Thomas — a show of the quality it could possess.

Thomas played for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Summer League, before playing in the G League — the NBA’s development league — last season.

This year’s roster looks to have some talent among it.

Included in that is Trey Moses, a 2.05m centre with an array of post moves, who averaged 11.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game at Ball State University last season.

Langton said the games were largely organised by the touring side, which contacted the university team and asked if it was keen for a game.

The side uses its tour to demonstrate the link between sports and faith to university students.

For the Otago under-23 team it is a step towards a bigger goal.

It begins its national tournament on Wednesday at 12.30pm, with its first pool game against Nelson.

Among its key players will be big man Connor Coll, while guards Tom Davison, Jamie MacDonald and Logan Dicker will be looking for good tournaments.

The Otago women will not have the benefit of warming up against an American opponent, but begin their tournament at the same time, against Waikato Country.

The tournament runs until Saturday.


Athletes in Action tour

Edgar Centre, Monday 7pm

v Otago under-23 men

Tuesday 1pm

v Otago University

Wednesday 1pm

v Otago Select

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