Basketball prodigy Dan Fotu pumped to play alongside older brother after being named in Tall Blacks squad




Dan Fotu can't wait to play his first ever game alongside brother Isaac, which will happen to be for their country.

Tall Blacks Issac Fotu (L) jumps to take a pass with Korea's Jongkyu Kim during the Basketball World Cup qualifier match between the Tall Blacks and Korea at TSB Arena in Wellington on Thursday the 23 November 2017. Copyright Photo by Marty Melville /

Tall Black Issac Fotu jumps to take a pass with Korea's Jongkyu Kim during the Basketball World Cup qualifier match.

Source: Photosport

New Zealand Breakers development player Fotu, 18, is the surprise inclusion in a 12-man Tall Blacks group for twin World Cup qualifying games in China and Korea.

The 30th-ranked Tall Blacks face world No.24 China in Dongguan on Saturday morning (NZT) and 35th-ranked South Korea in Seoul three days later.

They must do it without accomplished Breakers forwards Mika Vukona, who is being rested, and Tom Abercrombie, whose second child is pending.

Abercrombie was trimmed from Henare's wider group on Wednesday, along with guards Derone Raukawa and Ethan Rusbatch.

Earning a spot is Dan Fotu, who is six years young than fellow-forward and proven international performer Isaac.

Because of the age difference, the pair have never played an official game together.

"Isaac will push me in this opportunity, he will help make me a better player and compete against guys in my position to get a spot on the team," Fotu jnr said.

"These boys are a good set of boys, and the Tall Black culture is really good. It is something I want to be a part of in the future for sure."

The Fotu siblings join brotherly guards Tai and Corey Webster on the roster of what coach Paul Henare calls a balanced squad.

It is the core of the team who performed strongly at last year's Asia Cup.

Reuben Te Rangi is promoted to captain in place of Vukona.

"We have seen so many of them grow so much over the past couple of years and for some it is now time to further fulfil their potential, this time on the international stage," Henare said.

New Zealand recorded a home loss to South Korea and win on the road over minnows Hong Kong in their first two qualifying matches.

The top three in the four-nation group will progress and carry points through to next window of qualifying.

Tall Blacks:

Guards: Shea Ili, Jarrod Kenny, Tai Webster, Reuben Te Rangi, Corey Webster.
Forwards: Jordan Ngatai, Finn Delany, Dan Fotu, Isaac Fotu, Tohi Milner-Smith.
Centres: Rob Loe, Alex Pledger.

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