Jets captain Pero Cameron will represent New Zealand at the FIBA World
Championships in Indianapolis in August and September. We'll be following
his preparations and progress in a series of looks at basketball's biggest
Cameron is back in Europe. But don't expect to see the Chester
Jets star dropping into the Northgate for a summer shoot around with
Mike Burton just yet.
Cameron has the serious
business of the World Championships to look forward to, with a trip to
Indianapolis with his native Tall Blacks on the horizon for the end of
The Kiwi squad have
left the southern hemisphere behind and have touched down in France for
the first in a series of warm-up games ahead of their American adventure.
Following on from
the Sydney Olympics, few expected New Zealand to reach the global showpiece.
But a surprise defeat of perennial Oceania masters Australia sent them
forth to this summer's 12 team finale.
Cameron, who will
once again skipper his country, is looking forward to the challenge.
But the BBL's resident
iron man admits that after a campaign which brought a clean sweep back
to Chester, he was grateful for an unexpected rest.
"I went back to New
Zealand straight after the end of the BBL season," he outlines. "But then
I got injured during the trials and missed a few of our warm-up games.
"It could have been
a blessing in disguise. I’ve played four years non-stop with summer and
winter seasons and the few weeks that I was forced to take off has left
me feeling quite fresh now."
Having missed a segment
of New Zealand's preparation, two games against the French will provide
some useful practice.
He adds: "We’re heading
to Hanover after the weekend to play against Germany, Lithuania and Yugoslavia
which is going to be a huge test for us. It’s ideal preparation. They’ve
all got guys who play, or could play, in the NBA and they’re all very physical.
"Then we go to Canada
for two Tests against them before flying down to Notre Dame and then into
Even from the other
side of the globe, Cameron has kept a close eye on the comings and goings
in the BBL - particularly at the Northgate where his coach Robbie Peers
has been constructing a side to match their unprecedented achievements
of last season.
Cameron will be back.
But he insists that those who have left - John
Thomas and James Hamilton
- depart to fresh pastures with no rancour from their former colleagues.
“It happens. It’s
part of the game, of this business," he confirms.
"John’s a phenomenal
player, an incredible point guard. But good on him. He wanted to go on
to bigger and better things like we all do. You only have 15 years in the
business and who can blame him for making the most of it?
"Same with James.
He’s a great friend but he had a good opportunity to go to France. He’ll
be sorely missed but good luck to him."
The rock-solid forward
is nonetheless impressed with Peers' re-tooling which will give him plentiful
front court support. A repeat, he asserts, is not beyond his imagination.
"It’s all about chemistry,"
"We had a great group
of guys who worked really hard for each other and I hope that will remain.
"John McCord and
Calvin Davis are great characters on and off the court.
"Todd Cauthorn is
a very good player and he’s just what we need. So we’ll see what happens
with the other new players coming in."
Before his return
to the Jets however, there is the prospect of an outing on basketball's
New Zealand will
still rank as outsiders for glory. But Cameron will take with him the David
duffing up Goliath mentality fostered in Chester last term, one employed
to such devastating effect.
"I’m fully fit. And
now myself and the rest of the team just have to concentrate on our preparations
"We're not there
just to make up the numbers."
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