Basketball: Wellington teenager Tafara Gapare follows in Steven Adams footsteps

He's more than two metres of speed and skill - and American basketball scouts are already fighting over Tafara Gapare.

The kid from Wellington is just 15.

Mentor Kenny McFadden insists he's as good as Kiwi NBA star Steven Adams at the same age and he should know. The NZ basketball legend is the one who discovered Adams.

"The only thing he has to now develop is that internal fire that Steven got," says McFadden.

For years, Gapare has looked on, as Adams has dominated NBA games. Now Adams is looking back.

"Steven recognised him and offer edhim a scholarship to the same place [Scots College] that he went to," says McFadden. "He's trying to give him the same opportunity - in the classroom and on the court - as he did."

Gapare's commitment and desire has already got him invited to the exclusive NBA Global Academy. For his age, that makes him one of the top players in the world.

While there, he was tossed up against players from the United States U19 team.

"They were extremely tall," says Gapare. "They know what to do in a situation where they're stuck… they just knew the game a lot better than me."

But his game is growing - and that's not the only thing.

American colleges and NBA teams are already calling and McFadden knows Gapare's star is on the rise.

"Look at a guy like Kevin Durant, who's basically a seven-footer who can shoot three-pointers and can play like a god," says McFadden. "That's an asset to any programme."

Durant is one of the all-time NBA greats. Like Gapare, as a young player, he was what's called 'slim'.

McFadden makes that comparison between Durant and Gapare, who has the size, skill and support. Now it's on him to embrace the one thing Adams has in abundance - work ethic.

"Just how hard he worked in school," admires Gapare. "Making sure he did his school work and getting to training."

McFadden has seen the Kiwi dream once, so will it happen again?

"He has the ability to play there [in the NBA]," he says. "If he continues to train how he's been training and more important, pick up the training, he will play in the NBA."

But this NBA hopeful, this god-in-training, this budding superstar is still a teenager and will always rely on the first person who ever believed in him.

"I forgot my shoes and my mum had to bring them for me," admits Gapare.

Newshub.

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