Basketball: Kiwi teenager Jackson Kiss tipped for future stardom after making switch to US grassroots game

One year ago, Jackson Kiss was at school on a rugby scholarship, but now the Kiwi is one of the biggest names in US grassroots basketball.

Fourteen-year-old Kiss may not have taken a traditional path, but a top American high school coach predicts a massive future on the horizon.

Kiss travelled to the US with former Tall Blacks and Auckland City coach Lindsay Tait to help continue his career that only began two years ago, when the pair first met.

"I invited Jackson along, that's club basketball - it's for everybody," Tait tells Newshub. "We [were] basically teaching the fundamentals of the game and he's never left."

Kiss was invited to play in the Amateur Athletic Union circuit, one of the most competitive junior leagues in the US. 

"I honestly call it a dream," Kiss tells Newshub. "I couldn't believe I'd be here."

Playing for Team Melo, backed by NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony, he was coached by Sam Brand, who was immediately taken aback by the Kiwi kid. 

"From the very beginning, I knew there was potential," Brand says. "From my first day in the gym with him."

For Kiss, it's been a trip he will never forget. 

"This experience has been an amazing, amazing eye-opener for me," he adds.

And he's certainly left his mark.

"Jackson Kiss now has a significant buzz in the grassroots basketball world over here," adds Brand. "I have plenty of contacts in the high school basketballing world and all of them have reached out to me about Jackson."

And Brand believes he can turn that buzz into a future.

"There is no ceiling for what Jackson Kiss can do in the game of basketball."

Jackson Kiss is a name to remember, as he paves his own path in the basketball world.