Tokyo Olympics: Tall Blacks coach Pero Cameron, assistants have contracts extended

Pero Cameron.
Pero Cameron. Photo credit: Getty

Basketball NZ has extended the contracts of Tall Blacks coaching staff to coincide with the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics. 

Head coach Pero Cameron, along with assistants Ross McMains, Mike Fitchett and Judd Flavell, were contracted through the Tokyo campaign, but with the Games postponed 12 months, BBNZ chief executive Iain Potter has acted quickly to ensure continuity and stability in the programme.

The Tall Blacks haven't qualified for the Olympics yet and face world No. 5 Serbia, among others, at a qualifying tournament at Belgrade in June 2021. 

"We are working our way through unprecedented times as a nation and globally, as we combat the effects of COVID-19, but in amongst that, we must continue to plan and reassure our stakeholders - and in this case, our players - that we will eventually get back to some sort of normal," said Potter.

"We were very happy to move quickly to ratify this recommendation from our high performance director Leonard King, and I am delighted to say that discussions with Pero and his coaching team have also proved positive, allowing us to move forward with certainty."

Cameron was appointed Tall Blacks coach in December, replacing Paul Henare, who stood down to coach Japanese club side Kagawa Five Arrows.

Along with the Olympic qualifying campaign, Cameron will also oversee two Asia Cup qualifying windows in November and February. 

"Four years ago, under Henare's leadership, we talked as a group about Tokyo being the ultimate goal, with the 2019 world champs a pinnacle event in its own right, but also leading to Tokyo," said Cameron. "Nothing has changed in that sense under my watch.

"Right now, it is difficult to focus on what the Olympics will look like, as we all just try to defeat this virus, and be safe with our families and in our communities. 

"But recent announcements from FIBA, on the back of the Olympics being postponed, give us some certainty in our planning. With my role and that of my assistants being confirmed for another 15 months, we can all get on with the job of giving ourselves the best shot at qualifying for the Games and along the way, cementing our place at the 2021 Asia Cup."