United States college scouts eyeing NZ's hottest young female basketball talent

Before Steven Adams rose to NBA stardom, he cut his teeth in college basketball at the University of Pittsburgh.

It's an avenue more and more Kiwis are heading down and Basketball New Zealand's NCAA accredited exposure camp is making it more accessible.

It's a camp where New Zealand's premier female ballers can showcase their skills in front of over a dozen coaches from top universities.

"I was so nervous leading up to this week," Jessica Moors, a university hopeful told Newshub.

It's understandable. They're effectively playing for a NZ$200,000 prize - a four-year scholarship to play basketball at a university in the United States.

Some of our best players have gone through America, Sean Marks, Mark Dickel and Steven Adams to name a few, but it's popularity is now starting to gain traction.

"Scholarships have been around for at least 20 years or so," Leonard King, New Zealand Basketball's High Performance Manager told Newshub.

"The change has been the interest of New Zealand players wanting to go to America."

That interest comes off the back of basketball exploding in this country.

It's projected to be New Zealand's number one secondary school sport by 2020, and Basketball New Zealand's looking to do their bit to help out.

The first exposure camp held on Friday is one of those ways. It brings coaches here instead of players having to spend money to go there to get scouted.

"In America at the moment there's a big focus on Australians and New Zealanders," Jason Chainey, Washington State Women's Basketball Assistant Coach told Newshub.

There are over a hundred Kiwis already on scholarships in the US with at least 40 playing in the highest division. Chainey says there's a demand for more.

 "Fundamentally, both Australians and New Zealanders are good basketballers, and to add to that, they're great people."

Leonard King says females are the hottest property.

"Every time I speak with college coaches they want more female basketball players."

It's the reason why this first exposure camp was for girls. Due to the interest in this camp, they hope to hold one for boys in July.

Penina Davidson, who recently graduated from a university in the States, told Newshub she thinks the more that go over the merrier.

"Once they come out of college there will be more pro girls and the more pro girls the bigger the sport become," Davidson says.

It means the benefits are two fold

"The Free education is good, but I just think it would be a whole other level of basketball just to push yourself."

Jessica Moors, a US College hopeful told Newshub.

Thanks to Basketball NZ, getting over to the states isn't a long shot any more.