Player Diary – Connie Poletti

connie polettiHi Connie! How did you get started with the NZBA?

Got a phone call from one of my coaches (Willie Banks)saying I should go down. Because it had the Las Vegas trial I was excited and determined to want to go and get in the team.

What do you like most about the NZBA, and travelling down to Wellington for camp?

The fact that it is really inspirational and the feedback and advice given is really helpful and useful. The camps are fun with really good trainers at the NZBA, I always came away back from camp feeling I had learnt more skills- the big one was about how to be a student of the game.

You went on the 16U girls tour last year to Las Vegas, what was the highlight of the tour for you?

Winning was definitely pretty cool- especially finding out most of the girls we were playing against were a couple of years older than us. Basketball was much more aggressive and faster which suits my style and getting to experience how basketball is played in America was amazing. I think it also showed me how good the NZ players and trainers are, that we can travel and still compete and win internationally. I will never forget driving down the strip at night- wow , that was amazing!!

How has being a member of the NZBA impacted your work in the classroom and academically?

It gave me a wake up call about how important academics is, its not only about playing basketball-theres got to be a good balance of sport and academics. NZBA gave me advice on what areas needed to be studied- so that was important in my Year 13 (senior year) subject choices.

What are your goals for this year and after you leave high school?

I’m playing in the NZU18 team in April and I’m aiming to be top rebounder again.

I’m in the Junior Tall Ferns (national U19) squad so want to make the team for the FIBA U19 World Qualifiers at the end of the year.

Making the tournament team for NSS Basketball (national secondary school) tournament.

Getting Level 3 merit.

My main goal this year is to get a good full scholarship to America- this has been my goal since I started playing basketball 5 years ago- that would be so good!.

Do you have a particular role model, coach, or mentor who has inspired you to follow your goals and achieve excellence in basketball and education?

Willie Banks has definitely been there helping me to achieve and follow my dreams. Willie has been through what I want to achieve, he has played internationally yet he is still so humble and keen to help me and other kids , to keep loving the game. He has really inspired me.

Trent Adams has been my school coach for the last 3 years. He is helping me accomplish my long term goals, is really patient and just takes the time for me to really learn the skills. Trent has taught me the mental skill to cope with pressure and is absolutely committed to helping me achieve my international goals, he is great!

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