Sporting superstar Paris Lokotui has had a successful year in netball and basketball.
The Year 13 student was one of 24 young women selected for the Steven Adams Invitational Basketball Camp and later captained the New Zealand Secondary Schools netball team
to victory against England – all in the month of July.
Paris says it felt amazing to be selected for the Steven Adams Invitational.
“As I was unable to go to the camp last year due to Beko season commitments, I was very eager to develop my skills and learn from some of the best coaches in
New Zealand,” she says.
“The camp provided knowledge around developing skills and basketball IQ. We also learnt how to persist during adversity or set-backs and how to maximise potential and ability on and off the court. Steven wanted the athletes to ‘aim high’ by taking pride in all things we did, being on time, being prepared to work hard or doing the smallest gestures like saying thank you. These were implemented from the beginning, and knowing Steven, he made sure that if anyone stepped out of line, then he would be there to show them right back.”
Paris says highlights for her included making friends and hearing inspirational speeches.
“My highlights at the camp were creating lifelong friendships, gaining valuable basketball knowledge and listening to inspiring speakers, such as Willie Apiata, who spoke about leadership and teamwork and how to overcome obstacles when they occur.”
Paris also had the opportunity to captain a test against England with the New Zealand Secondary Schools netball team recently, a proud moment she says she will not forget.
“As this had been a goal I had set for this year, being able to achieve it and win the test against England was an unbelievable and memorable experience.”
Paris has also been selected for the tournament team at the 2019 Aon U19 Basketball Nationals, the Wellington Women’s basketball team and the 2019 Pathway to Podium Programme for netball.
“I also start my Pulse (netball) pre-season training from November to the middle of December preparing for the upcoming ANZ Premiership in 2020.”
Keeping her options open for life after school, Paris aims to pursue both netball and basketball next year.
“For the first half of next year, one of my major goals is to play in an ANZ netball test match for the Pulse. As I have signed a contract with the Pulse as one of two training partners, I will be able to train with the team, experience a professional atmosphere and gain knowledge from some of the best players in the world,” Paris says.
“Keeping my options open, another goal I have for next year is to gain a full basketball scholarship to America.”