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MacDonald heading to Arizona

Drew MacDonald is heading to Arizona in July. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

By Jake Beleski

Drew MacDonald knows he will eventually have to choose between his favourite sports, but he hopes that day will not arrive for a while yet.

Cricket runs in Drew’s family, but basketball is now opening up a host of unforeseen opportunities.

The year 13 Chanel College student, and deputy head boy, will head to Arizona in July to compete in the annual Native American Basketball Invitational tournament.

Drew said he found out last year he had been selected to represent Maori as a member of the Nga Hau e Wha Maori youth basketball team.

“We went up to Kaitaia about halfway through last year to compete in a quad tournament.

“We had a team called the Arizona Warriors come over, and they’ve actually competed in the tournament I’m attending in July, and won it two years running.”

Drew was unaware at the time, but the tournament was being used as a selection trial for the Maori team.

Two weeks later he got a phone call confirming his place in the squad, and now is preparing for the trip of a lifetime.

“It’s not just about basketball . . . there’s a focus on the cultural side of it and meeting other indigenous cultures.”

The trip would also be used to provide an insight into sporting and educational opportunities in the USA.

Drew is a versatile player who can cover multiple positions on the court, but says he is most comfortable at small forward or shooting guard.

He understands he is nearing a point where he may have to choose between two sports he is passionate about, and until recently that would have been an easier decision to make.

“This opportunity has made me now wonder what to choose, and opened my eyes to basketball as a whole.

“I’m at the stage we’re I’m going to keep both sports open but I’ve sat down and thought ‘where can I go from this’?”

Long-term Drew has his eye on the Wellington Saints, New Zealand Breakers and the Tall Blacks, but for now he is looking to raise the $4500 needed to fund his trip to Arizona.

Chanel College will host a 12-hour basketball marathon fundraiser on Friday, April 28 to show their support.

Mitre 10 Mega and Katrina Sigvertsen from ProActive Massage had also been supportive sponsors, he said.

“Rosie Gould, our development officer for basketball, she’s my support person in terms of approaching companies for sponsorship — she came up with the idea for the marathon.

“There’s a tournament in Wellington called Hoops for Hope, and it’s sort of our own twist on that.”


  1. What a great opportunity. Would’ve been nice to include Drew’s iwi/hapū particularly since this article is about his selection for an indigenous competition.

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