One of New Zealand's most promising young basketball players Sam Mennenga has confirmed he's the latest to accept a university scholarship in the United States.
After receiving over 30 offers from a host of US colleges, the Westlake Boys High student will study and play at Davidson College in North Carolina, where two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry went to school.
“For me Davidson is the best of both worlds, academically it's a really good school, basketball wise it really fits my style of play really well,” Mennenga said.
Davidson is not one of the big glitzy universities, with a roll of under 2000 students but has a strong basketball programme and a focus on education.
“It's really important cause you've got to have a fall back, if you don't make it,” he said.
“Having a degree from a very, very well-respected school is very important,” father Jens Mennenga explains.
Of German and Polish descent, the 17-year-old only started focusing on basketball three years ago, growing up north of Auckland.
US Scouts have been knocking on his door for the past year to get hold of his 2.06m frame, 6 foot 9 in the hold, movement and rare left-handed shooting ability.
Mennenga is another player off the successful Westlake Boys and North Harbour production line.
“My personal feeling is Sam is one of the best athletes to ever come out of the Harbour programme,” North Harbour Basketball boss John Hunt said.
The Davidson scholarship is estimated to be worth half a million dollars.
“What we encourage the parents and athletes to understand is that this is an academic pathway, they have the opportunity to study at a very good tertiary institution, to come out of that tertiary institution with no debt,” Hunt said.
The year 13 student will head off in January, training straight away with his new team and studying, but he won't officially play until next November.
“We'll see, time will tell how far he will go, the world's his oyster at the moment though, at the moment, looks like it yes,” father Jens said.