08/07/2014
News

NZL - Loe's late arrival not a blow for Vucinic

AUCKLAND (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - New Zealand coach Nenad Vucinic has given his full backing to Rob Loe, who is missing the start of the Tall Blacks' preparations for the FIBA Basketball World Cup so he can play with the Golden State Warriors' summer league team.

Loe just wrapped up his four-year career in American college basketball with the Saint Louis Billikens and is a no-show this week in Auckland with the national team trials taking place.

"The last two years he played well for the Tall Blacks and he had a very good last season at Saint Louis," said Vucinic.

"We expect a lot from him and are very happy he's going to the NBA summer League.

"We hope he's going to come back in very good form, to continue with us."

Loe has been on the international basketball radar since 2009, when he averaged 18.8 points and seven rebounds for hosts New Zealand at the FIBA U19 World Championship for Men.

A 2.11m center, he averaged 10.3 points and 5.7 rebounds for the Billikens as a senior in 2013-14.

He made headlines in the NCAA Tournament with a 22-point, 15-rebound performance in a narrow win over North Carolina State on 20 March.

Loe causes problems for opposing defenses because he can step outside and consistently hit three-pointers.

Vucinic, meanwhile, has spoken about the absence of Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams from the Tall Blacks squad.

Adams just finished his rookie season in the NBA.

"I don't have any problems with Steve not being available," Vucinic said.

"I think it's very obvious that Steve is a good-hearted Kiwi boy and he will want to play for New Zealand in the future.

"I see Steve being one of the main players in the Tall Blacks in the years to come.

"My personal feel is that everything came a little bit too quick for him.

"Three years ago, he was just a junior player here and now he's playing in the Semi-Finals of the NBA.

"He probably needs a little bit of time to absorb that and then I'm sure he'll make himself available in the future.

"I would love to have him in the team... but they felt it's best for him not to play in the international program this year. I respect that."

After two days of trials, Vucinic will name a 16-man squad for the three-game friendly series against Korea, which gets underway in Wellington on 15 July.

At Spain 2014, New Zealand will play in Bilbao's Group C against Finland, USA, Ukraine, the Dominican Republic and Turkey.

FIBA

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