Kiwi teens to strut their stuff at global NBA championships

They are two of our up and coming basketball stars who have got an opportunity to show their skills on the world stage.

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Dontae Nance and Lilly Taulelei are both part of the Asia Pacific Junior Basketball team heading to Florida. Source: Te Karere

Dontae Nance and Lilly Taulelei from Wellington have been selected for the Asia Pacific junior basketball teams to compete at the junior NBA tournament in America.

Coaches in their respective regions say they have what it takes to go all the way.

'It’s really cool I never thought I would get to this,"  Lilly the young Wellingtonian told Te Karere.

"I thought I would represent New Zealand under 14 maybe this year, so it’s quite a cool opportunity for me."

Lilly was the only girl and Dontae the only boy from New Zealand selected at the trial for the Jr. NBA Global Championship.

"It was full on trying to impress the coaches, playing with different people and it was quite hot weather," Dontae says.

Both impressed and got selected for the Asia Pacific team for under 14s.

"It was nerve-racking because they had two spots left and I hadn’t been called out," Lilly said as she recounted the selection process.

"We were sitting there quite nervous, but lucky I got called for the ninth spot, so I was holding back my tears looking at my mum and my dad."

This is the second time the annual junior championships has been held where teams from regions around the world and teams from regions around America play.

This year it will be held in Orlando, Florida, close to where Dontae’s father, Shawn Nance, is from.

"I’m from Jacksonville, Florida, so I’m two hours away from Orlando," says Mr Nance.

"I’m gonna have a few family supporting and catching up. It’s going to be a great experience."

Both basketball players have the strong support of their parents to ensure they are getting the training in.

"It’s pretty hectic and I have training almost every day," says Dontae.

"There’s always gonna be someone taller than you and stronger so I need to be prepared to drive, dribble or shoot," says Lilly.

The championship will be held in August and the two hope it will help them to achieve another dream to gain US college scholarships.