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EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Daniel Kong - Mar 3, 2006

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Name: Daniel Peter Kong

Height: 5'11''

Position: PG/SG

Age: 23

What are your strength and weakness in your game?

Strengths: One on one defence, speed through the court, 3-point shooting and driving Weaknesses: Consistent jump shot, post play,

How did you actually started playing basketball?

My best friend in primary school starting watching the NBA on Sky and our groups of mates all got into it from then. I went to my first Canterbury trial when i was 10 and made it so that made me want to play more.

Who was your biggest influence on basketball while growing up?

Probably my junior high school, rep and high school coach - Dave Harrison. He coached me all the way through and stuck with me through thick and thin. He has become a great friend.

How did you end up playng for the Otago Nuggets?

Kind of by general progression. I went to Dunedin to primarily study Physical Education and thought i'd continue my basketball and try out for the National League team.

Did you think that your lack of height wouldn't allow you to play effective in higher leagues like the NZ NBL?

At first i did but when i saw others that were playing in the NZ NBL, AUS NBL and NBA that were shorter i thought it was fine. I just had to make up in other areas i.e. being the quickest on the court and being able to create space for a shot.

Where they any offers to play at US college?

No, i never really explored that avenue. I don't think i was good enough when i left high school.

How would you describe your performances last year on a personal and team perspective?

Personally i improved and showed that i could contribute to the team and in the league. This was reflected in my gradual increase in playing time over the season. Our team struggled from the start and it was hard to gain anything back, especially with an extremely young and inexperienced team with a new coach.

What you would attribute the main reason that you had such a good season on a Personal level last year?

I think it was an increase in the belief in myself as a guard in the NBL and having a mindset that i could defend anyone and not be intimitaded. Also with good support from our imports last year - Scotty McGregor and Russell Hinder. They were great teachers and friends.

You are currently training for the Wellington Saints? How is it going and describe your changes of being back up to George Leafa?

The Saints trainings are going really well. Gordy is a great coach and there is always something to learn at every practice. Being a back up doesn't affect me at all. I've played as a back up most of my time in the league so it's not different now. Its just another challenge that comes with playing with other good players. You have to stay on their heels and be ready to step in when needed.

We have heard that you have Fijian heritage, is that true?

This is true.

If yes, could you tell us how you have Fijian heritage?

My father is Fijian-Chinese. He is from Kadavu, the third largest fijian island. His mother is Fijian and his father is Chinese.

If you eligible to play for Fiji would you consider playing for Fiji in International competitions?

Yes, definately. I would love to.

Also being a Fijian gives you the opportunity to play as a local in several European countries, Do you think you might be capable of playing in Europe?

I have never thought of that or knew that that was a possibility. But at this time in my career i don't think i would look very hard into it.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years in terms of your basketball career?

The next 5 years really depends on this years performance. If i don't make the Saints i will probably just play Wellington 2nd Div Basketball and concentrate on other things i  

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