The Apunipima Australian Indigenous Basketball All Stars has announced its selection of a 12-player roster, led by NBL veteran Tyson Demos.
The team, made up of the best of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander basketball talent, are defending champions of the Annual Trans-Tasman Basketball Series, now in its third year.
The Aussies will take on the New Zealand Maori National Team in three locations on New Zealand’s North Island this September.
Demos will join two other Indigenous players with NBL experience, Deba George and Kerry Williams, who both had stints with the Cairns Taipans. Former Townsville Crocodiles Torres Strait Islander brother duo Chris and Michael Cedar, who were members of the victorious 2015 Australian Indigenous All Stars team, were unavailable for selection this year.
Also chosen for the team were Aaron Bin Tahal (Cairns), Marshall Ware (Townsville), Tidjane Diop (Mackay), Andrew Taylor and Jacob Davis (Brisbane), Simon Taylor (Logan), Reece Craigie (Sydney), Daniel David (Canberra) and Travis Thorne (Darwin).
“I think I can speak on behalf of the selection panel and say that we’re very excited about the team we will field for this year’s Trans-Tasman series,” Head Coach Joel Khalu said.
“We’ve got great depth, which is a positive indication of where the level of Indigenous basketball in Australia is at right now. We’ve also got a unique mix of big-game experience and youthful enthusiasm.”
“Our success in winning last year’s series was based around each player making a valuable contribution when their number was called and I believe we have a similar group of personnel for this year. I know everybody is looking forward to the challenge, which will be much greater this time around playing away from home.”
Deba George and Tidjane Diop will become the first players to represent the Australian Indigenous All Stars team for three straight Trans-Tasman campaigns. George was named Most Valuable Player of the last year’s series that was held in Queensland.
The Apunipima All Stars will head to New Zealand as underdogs, with the three-match series being played across six-days, in three separate North Island venues of Te Awamutu, Gisborne and Tauranga.
Along with the on-court match ups, both teams also participate in a range of community engagement sessions and cultural activities.
“That’s what makes this series with the Maori national team so special,” Khalu added.
“Not only do we get to compete in the sport that we all immensely enjoy, but we also have the chance to reach out and make a difference in the communities that our teams visit.”
“It’s about so much more than just a basketball series.”
The Apunipima Australian Indigenous All Stars have a two-day training camp in Brisbane on September 10 and 11, ahead of their first game of the series which will be played on Tuesday, September 13.
2016 Trans-Tasman Basketball Series
Apunipima Australian Indigenous All Stars vs. New Zealand Maori National Team
- Game 1: Thursday September 15, Te Awamutu, NZ
- Game 2: Friday September 16, Gisborne, NZ
- Game 3: Saturday September 17, Tauranga, NZ
2016 Apunipima Australian Indigenous All Stars:
PLAYER NAME HOMETOWN CURRENT TEAM / ASSOCIATION
Aaron Bin Tahal Cairns , QLD Cairns Marlins, QLD
Andrew Taylor Brisbane, QLD Brisbane Basketball, QLD
Daniel David Poruma Island, QLD Southern Cross Pride, ACT
Deba George Darnley Island, QLD Albury-Wodonga Bandits, VIC
Jacob Davis Brisbane, QLD Brisbane Capitals, QLD
Kerry Williams Cairns, QLD Cairns Basketball, QLD
Marshall Ware Cairns, QLD Townsville Heat, QLD
Reece Craigie Tamworth, NSW Sutherland Sharks, NSW
Simon Taylor Brisbane, QLD Logan Thunder, QLD
Tidjane Diop Brisbane, QLD Mackay Meteors, QLD
Travis Thorne Darwin, NT Cairns Basketball, QLD
Tyson Demos Wollongong, NSW Illawarra Hawks, NSW
Head Coach: Joel Khalu
Head of Delegation: Danny Morseu
For more information please contact Apunipima Australian Indigenous All Stars Head Coach Joel Khalu on 0415 180 072 or firstname.lastname@example.org