Kingston Manihera-Dankwa hopes his name will one day adorn the back of a Tall Black’s jersey. And by the way things are going, he may well make his dream a reality.
The St. John’s College Year 9 student was selected to trial at a NZU15 Basketball Camp in Wellington earlier this month and represented Hawke’s Bay U15B team in 2021.
“It was a really good experience and I felt like I gave it my all,” he says. If selected, he will join players from around NZ for a further trial.
He credits his time playing for the region and getting seen by different coaches, as the reason why he was selected initially.
Being able to represent the country would be a “dream come true” for the 14-year-old who only started playing the sport two years ago.
“My goal in basketball is just to go as far as I can, play for the Tall Blacks and go to the Olympics and all that.” He plays in the position of small forward and has also tried his hand at Point Guard or Shooting Guard.
Although his family is predominantly into Football, Kingston says he was introduced to the sport at primary school and hasn’t looked back since.
“It’s really fun,” he says of the sport. “You get to meet new people and go to places you’ve never been to before all around the country.”
Since starting at St. John’s College at the beginning of this year, he has been working with Head of Basketball Mr Damian Whitten as part of the Basketball Institute.
Mr Whitten says Kingston is a hardworking young man who has clear hopes and dreams.
“He excels in communicating positively with his teammates, attacking the basket, and applying new concepts given to him.
“He plays unselfishly and is respected for his positive attitude in the Institute Programme."