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Zara Jillings signs full division 1 scholarship to Fordham - Nov 18, 2016

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U.S. Colleges are continuing to scout basketball talent out of New Zealand with one school in particular keen on New Zealanders. Today Zara Jillings (175-G-98) will sign a full scholarship with Fordham University. A number of Division 1 schools were targeting Jillings, with no less than five colleges offering the Westlake Girls' High School student an official visit. In the end Fordham University and one of the United States' top college coaches, Stephanie Gaitley , secured the 18 year old. 'I was fortunate enough to receive a lot of initial interest from programs all over the U.S. In the end I visited three schools that I was really keen on and found that was enough to be super confident in my decision,' says Jillings. 'I took three out of a possible five official visits because I had heard from others that it's a pretty chaotic experience. You only get 48 hours at each school so they pack a lot in: tours, meetings with academic advisors, going out for your meals, watching practice, spending time with the team. It's overwhelming, but incredible to see the facilities and resources they have to pour into the school. What I liked was getting a feel for everything in terms of the people and the campus, so that you can really picture yourself being there,' says Jillings. Jillings decided to sign with Fordham for of a number of reasons, including academic opportunities and the history the school has with Kiwi players. 'I immediately felt a good vibe with the coaching staff. They are very family oriented and have created an extremely successful program. Coach Gaitley also has a lot of experience with internationals. She's coached Megan Compain and Erin Rooney, who both went onto play professionally. Everything I had heard and all of my own experiences with the staff just felt right. 'Fordham University is also an incredible school academically, their business school is ranked very highly and there is the potential for me to get my Masters Degree while I am there. The school is right in New York which is an amazing place and such a different environment to home,' said Jillings. Already Jillings is no stranger to playing international basketball, having been selected in New Zealand age-group teams since the Under 16 level. Earlier this year she travelled to China with the Junior Tall Ferns and also played for the Under 18 3x3 Women's team in Kazakhstan. Her success as a player is not too surprising when looking at Jillings' upbringing, where she was raised in a family of basketballers. 'My parents still play and when I was younger my brother did too, so I was in a gym watching trainings and games since I was young and have played since primary school. I did so many other sports as well through primary and intermediate, but basketball was always my favourite. I love how it's a team sport but you can still do a bit of everything individually too.' Like many young athletes Jillings says she is appreciative for the help she has received from parents, coaches and the Harbour Basketball Association. 'My parents have been huge in the way they have supported me in everything, no matter what. Dad has spent a lot of early mornings in gyms and Mum was my first ever coach. I'm so lucky to share my passion with them. I've also been with Harbour Basketball since I was 11 and as an Association they've always been so supportive, you can see why they run probably the best rep' program in the country.' Jillings plans to head to New York in early January and will be red-shirting for the remainder of the season, and will also begin studying Business. Of course basketball is also etched into her plans. 'I really want to play for the Tall Ferns. I got a taste for it being in their Olympic Qualification trial camp and it confirmed that I want to reach that level. It's a step up from Juniors but something I aspire to. I'd also love to be part of a team that makes it to the Olympics for 2020 and 2024, that's a big goal. I think it's looking promising that New Zealand Basketball will make it to those events.'
Courtesy of:   

Tall Ferns Coach names players for Commonwealth Games trial - 9 days ago
Ahead of the Commonwealth Games new Tall Ferns coach Guy Molloy has identified a group of athletes from which he will select his team of 12 players for the April event. To help narrow down the squad a training camp is being held in Melbourne this coming weekend (February 16-18). All of the players that attended the 2017 Asia Cup in Bangalore last July have been named except Jillian Harmon. The experienced power forward is unavailable due to Italian League commitments for her club Napoli   [read more]

Guy Molloy
Guy Molloy named Tall Ferns head coach - 12 days ago
The New Zealand Tall Ferns will have one of Australia's leading coaches at the helm as they prepare for the Commonwealth Games, with the appointment of Deakin Melbourne Boomers' Guy Molloy as the national team's Head Coach. Molloy worked with the New Zealand women's basketball team last year as a mentor to the players and coaching staff. Basketball New Zealand's High Performance Manager, Leonard King, says Molloy was the outstanding candidate after a process undertaken over the past three...   [read more]

Micaela Cocks helps Townsville to a third WNBL title - 1 month ago
New Zealand guard Micaela Cocks(174-G-86, college: Oregon) has helped Townsville Fire secure its third Australian Women's National Basketball League Championship (WNBL) in four years after beating Melbourne Boomers 70-57 in the third and deciding game on Sunday. With home court advantage Townsville led 20-14 at the end of the first period and won every quarter thereafter to secure its third title. Townsville had won game one, Melbourne had tied the series on Thursday with a narrow 58-57...   [read more]

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