Showing the depth of basketball talent at St. John’s College, nine of the school’s students have made Hawke's Bay Representative teams this year.
The nine students are Jayden Parker, U13B (Mel Young tournament); Robi Manihera-Dankwa, U15A; Kingston Manihera-Dankwa, U15B (lower age); Tonotu O'Shaughnessy, U15C; Douglas Roberts, U15C (lower age); Sam Start, U17A; Braxton Payne, U17A; Chaka Luki, U17A and Lochlan Stent, U19A.
Lochlan, 18, who is a Shooting guard, says that he first started playing mini ball in year 3 and 4.
“Basketball Hawke’s Bay have three a side basketball for little kids. So, when I first started I was in primary school. After that, they introduced the representative programmes and I got into that.”
Since then, Lochlan has been in a representative team very year and is now in the Hawke’s Bay U19 team.
“I am proud to represent our area. It’s really good because you get to face different competition that you don’t usually face.”
His coaches, Clifton Bush and Benny Hill, are top-level, with Clifton being highly regarded in New Zealand basketball, having played in the National Basketball League for years.
It may seem obvious, but Lochlan plans to play professionally one day.
“I will try go to a university somewhere where they have an NBL team that’s got a good programme to develop younger players.”
Sam has a similar story, having first played representative basketball when he was 12 in U13 and he has just continued through U13, U15 and U17.
“Basketball has always been part of my life. My parents were involved in it and I was just down at the gyms all the time and started playing and just haven’t stopped.”
“My dad used to ref in the national league around NZ and overseas sometimes, so he got me involved sometimes. “
Sam, who is in year 12 and a Point Guard, has a clear plan when it comes to basketball. He wants to get as high up as he can, even playing in the national league.
St. John’s College Principal Rob Ferreira say he is proud of the school’s basketball programme and the boys who have gone on to higher honours.
“It is great to see the raw talent of these boys being developed to a point where they achieve representative success.”
“We encourage all our students to reach their potential, whether it be academically or in the sporting or cultural arena. To have so many students in one sport achieve this level of success is an honour for St. John’s College.”
Head of Basketball, Damian Whitten says the boys have brought into key aspects of the basketball programme at the senior level and the Institute level.
He says these are that you get what you deserve when it comes to hard work and having a positive attitude and a desire to learn will make you attractive to future coaches.
“Having good fundamentals will open the door to a brighter future as well and a better understanding of the game.
“I believe that multiple other players are on the fringe of representative basketball and if they keep working hard their day will come. My only concern for some is that costs never become a barrier to their success.”