Tall Blacks legend Pero Cameron has been reappointed head coach of the national basketball team for their 2023 World Cup and 2024 Olympic qualifying campaigns.
Cameron, 47, served eight years as assistant coach under former teammates Nenad Vucinic and Paul Henare, but was promoted to the top job, when Henare resigned to take up a coaching role in Japan two years ago.
In his first match in charge, he masterminded a 108-98 victory over Australia Boomers at Brisbane, breaking an 11-year drought against their trans-Tasman archrivals.
Cameron played 227 games for the Tall Blacks from 1993-2010, starring in their historic semi-final run at the 2020 FIBA world championships, and was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2017.
"Pero has been an anchor for the Tall Blacks programme for well over two decades," says Basketball NZ high performance manager Leonard King. "He embodies the Tū Kaha culture and truly understands what it means to represent New Zealand.
"He has made a successful transition from a long, storied and highly successful playing career to an international coaching career, where he has displayed an incredible aptitude for identifying players' and coaches' strengths, and placing them in positions where they can be successful."
Cameron has spent the past decade living on the Gold Coast, but return home to take up the NZ-based position.
"It's an honour to be named head coach of the team that means more to me than any other," he says. "I have dedicated my adult life to the black jersey and I am immensely proud to be taking the next step in my Tall Blacks journey.
"It's also exciting to be coming back home to New Zealand on a more permanent basis. Basketball in New Zealand has developed significantly over the last five years and the depth of talent has built year on year.
"I'm absolutely committed to this team and the job I’ve been entrusted with."
COVID-19 has taken a toll on the national men's programme over the past 18 months, with New Zealand forced to abandon their qualifying campaign for the Tokyo Olympics and restricted to an understrength Australian-based team for their most recent Asian Cup outing.
"The world is in a challenging space right now, and we will do our best to navigate the path to FIBA World Cup 2023 and the 2024 Olympic Games as best we can," he says.