Former Tall Black on court with students

ACG Tauranga students on the court with former Tall Black captain Byron Vaetoe. Supplied photo.

With basketball the fastest growing sport in New Zealand, former Tall Blacks captain Byron Vaetoe has come on board to help ACG Tauranga develop its burgeoning basketball programme.

The 104-test veteran says his aim as a consultant is to implement a culture of learning – both on and off the basketball court.

“Being a student and being an athlete are both important - you can’t have one without the other,” he says. “We will get there through our training sessions, working hard to improve and get better each day. We want to learn and develop each week. It’s a process.”

ACG Tauranga has three basketball teams: Secondary Boys, a Year 7/8 team and a Year 5/6 team. All three play in the TCBA competitions at the ASB Stadium on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights.

For now, it’s not about winning, says Byron.

“Success for us at this stage is developing and learning, creating opportunities for one another, being unselfish, having core values and incorporating these in our team concepts. If we can do this, winning will eventually come.”

Basketball is the fastest growing sport in New Zealand. Byron started playing it as a child growing up in LA, where sport became an outlet for him and other kids to avoid gang culture. He says it teaches many life skills.

“The team dynamic teaches sacrifice, dedication, desire, sportsmanship, winning, losing, patience, trust, integrity, love, and many more attributes that play an important part in your life.”

ACG Tauranga principal Shawn Hutchinson says the school is privileged to have someone of Byron’s calibre guide its basketball programme through the early stages of development.

“Byron will ensure a strong culture and foundation is established in basketball, but I have no doubt his influence on our students, parents and coaches will influence beyond the basketball programme,” says Shawn.

“We hope to develop good athletes who are also good people.”

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