Steven Adams gives back to next gen of NZ basketballers

By Ruth Smith

Oklahoma City Thunder center, Steven Adams has been focusing on the basketball community over the last week, holding his annual camp across the country and opening new court facilities in under-privileged communities. 

Last night, he hosted the his first High School Invitational game, profiling the top 40 male and female players and top coaches from secondary schools from across the country.

Zippy point-guard, Grace Hunter of Queen Margaret College in Wellington and powerhouse centre, Anzac Rissetto of Auckland Grammar School were awarded for their hard work with basketball scholarships from Māori Television and Meadowfresh.

"This is the highest level of basketball in high school that you're going to see here and it's just creating an environment to compete against each other and have a good time," says Adams.

Basketball's finest were selected to attend a two day camp in Palmerston North this week to test their skills. 

However, according to Adams it's about more than just the sporting abilities.

"I wanted to really help these kids out off the court, as much as on the court and show them that there's a pathway if you want to get a scholarship and earn a degree.  This could be a pathway and we will help you every step of the way," he says.

The Steven Adams High School Invitational is an opportunity to showcase the young talent of New Zealand to off-shore audiences.

"It's a thrill to watch this whole process develop over these four years that I have been coming, to see the process get better and the talent get better.  

"Steven has a vision for growing youth and basketball throughout New Zealand.  He is a big part of the reason that it has grown and he wants to be able to pass that on," says Dan Mahoney of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

And there could be more on the cards for future ballers of New Zealand to look forward to.

"We would love for that opportunity to bring some kids from New Zealand over to our country to see what the Thunder is all about and interact with what we do and we can send some of our kids to New Zealand-  maybe like an exchange programme," he says.

Next year Adams and his management team look to extend the camp to a week-long programme.