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Running rangatahi through their hoops

ONE of the country's top basketball coaches was in Gisborne last weekend, upskilling the next generation of local stars.

American-born Kenny McFadden travelled from Wellington to hold a series of development clinics hosted by Tūranga Taihi Taiea Inc (TTT Inc).

Best known for mentoring NBA superstar Steven Adams, McFadden is now assistant coach for the Wellington Saints.

Arriving on Friday evening, McFadden offered one-on-one sessions on the fundamentals of seeking higher honours in the game, such as scholarships and professional contracts, before running three coaching clinics aimed at different age groups on Saturday.

On Sunday McFadden travelled to Tolaga Bay to run a clinic for local East Coast rangatahi and explore the region's natural beauty.

TTT Inc committee member Wendy Wallace said the weekend ran fantastically, with McFadden providing insights that could be used in a range of high-performance sports.

“His approach was engaging, strong, direct, encouraging and, last but not least, kind,” she said.

“He is the master of helping the young to see their own talent before they even recognise it.

“Our tamariki and our rangatahi are drawn to what he had to say because he has the stories and the war wounds to prove his mettle.”

Wallace said McFadden is in a position where local players striving to play the game professionally will have to play in front of him.

“He is passionate to a fault about getting this message through to the children and youth that he serves, about how much their success sits in their hands and in their willingness to commit to hard work, and to master the selfless mindset by giving back to the communities that supported them on their journeys to success.”

The weekend was TTT Inc's first major event hosting a coach of McFadden's calibre, but they hope it will become a regular occurrence after the successful clinics.

TTT Inc is a newly formed group of parents and caregivers who want rangatahi on the East Coast to experience what real success “looks like, feels like and tastes like” through providing access to “character-defining, mindset building, skill-set developing, and opportunity-taking frameworks”.

Wallace said they were thrilled to have hosted a weekend that so thoroughly met those objectives.

“The seed and relationship has been sown, fed and watered and we are massively excited to have established what we are unequivocally sure will be a highly valued, mutually beneficial, ongoing relationship that will benefit all youth in Te Tairawhiti.”

Basketball - Kenny McFadden
Basketball - Kenny McFadden
Basketball - Kenny McFadden
in the lineup: Kenny McFadden, former mentor to NBA superstar Steven Adams, was in town last weekend to share skills, stories and run coaching clinics with different age groups in Tolaga Bay. Picture by Paul Rickard