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Steven Adams' success tipped to 'explode' interest in NZ basketball

Published: 8:49PM Wednesday June 04, 2014 Source: ONE News

Steven Adams has laid the platform for Kiwi kids to follow the basketball dream.

The NBA star arrived back in New Zealand today after his side Oklahoma City Thunder were knocked out of the title race by the San Antonio Spurs.

His long-time coach and mentor Kenny McFadden, who has been in the States with Adams, always felt the 2.13m giant was something special.

"I always knew myself being here playing the game for so many years and watching kids grow up here in New Zealand that anybody here that put in the work, that he put in not only on the basketball court but more importantly in the classroom, and had the dedication that he could make it to the NBA," he told ONE News today.

McFadden knows that it's only going to keep improving for his rising star as he repays the faith the Thunder have shown in him.

"Next year he wants to step it up and be more of a role to the team," he said.

"This year he focused on defence protecting the rim doing the little things necessary to get some court time, next year he's looking to get into that starting line-up and more importantly try and come home with a championship ring."

Adams will be helping out McFadden during his trip home by coaching some of the young hopefuls at the New Zealand Basketball Academy in Wellington and will more than likely inspire some of them to follow his large boots.

McFadden admits that Adams' success has sparked a new interest in players from this part of the world.

"It's going to explode and that's exactly what the plan was because Steve was only a type of player that's here to open doors, I mean I'm getting 2 -3 emails a day from college coaches looking for Kiwi boys and Kiwi girls by what Steve is doing over there," he said.

"And only thing we got to do is keep nurturing these young kids and give them the opportunity to say listen you can do it regardless of what country you are from."

Adams is passing on being part of the Tall Blacks' World Cup campaign in Spain next month to concentrate on his development in the Summer league.