St Andrew’s College duo Mac Stodart and Charlotte Whittaker have made the most of training under the watchful eye of Kiwi NBA star Steven Adams.
The Oklahoma City Thunder centre ran a high school invitational event with 40 hand-selected teenage players from around New Zealand in Palmerston North.
Middleton Grange’s Sofia Kennedy also attended the event.
The weekend included training and drills with eight top Kiwi coaches under the watchful eye of Adams.
It culminated in a boys and girls match that was played on Maori Television.
It is the start of a busy month for Whittaker who will travel to India in September with the New Zealand under-18 team to try to qualify for the world championships.
The 18-year-old will then travel to the United States to scout potential college options next year.
She said she spoke to Adams about his experiences and how he found adjusting to the US culture and lifestyle.
Whittaker made the most of her time at the camp by being the leading scorer in the girls game.
She finished with 15 points and seven rebounds.
“It was amazing to be invited and I was humbled to represent my region and family,” she said.
The power forward/centre said she enjoyed learning from Adams, particularly his insistence the game must be played at pace.
Stodart, who has been boarding at St Andrew’s since moving from Invercargill to improve his basketball game, said the invite to attend the event was stunning.
“I remember looking at the email and realising this was too good to pass up,” he said.
“The weekend was great, just to test yourself against some of the best secondary school players in the country, while picking up tips from top coaches, was great.”
The 16-year-old said Adams was friendly and engaging, hosting several aspects of the sessions including defence.
Stodart asked him about his thoughts on playing US college basketball. Adams played his college basketball for Pittsburgh before being drafted to the NBA.
“He said playing college ball was great because if basketball doesn’t work out, you get a great education that you can use in other areas of your life.”