New Zealand Hoops – Q&A with Darci Finnigan

What is your full name and where are you from?

Darci Amelia Finnigan. I was born in Chelsea U.K but moved to Auckland, New Zealand when I was 2. 

Why did you choose the game of basketball?

Throughout primary and high school I was very sporty and played almost every sport you could think of from waterpolo to rugby. As I got older I knew I had to cut down on the amount of sport I was playing if I ever wanted to be more than a mediocre player. In year 10 I quit basketball so I could play soccer, but I quickly realized that it was the wrong decision. Not being able to play for a year was painful but it was what ultimately sparked my love for the game and I have never looked back since. 

The endless opportunities the game of basketball offers and the wonderful people you meet along the way is priceless and I am forever grateful for making that wrong decision in year 10 – because I don’t think id be here without it.

What is your current involvement with basketball? 

Currently I am training with the Auckland Dream in preparation for the eventual return of the Sal’s NBL. I am also playing with the AUT women’s team in the Tuesday night league at EventFinda in hope that Tertiary Nationals may still happen. 
I am also coaching the Saint Kentigern College Premier girls basketball team. 

📷 @photosport.nz

What schools did you attend? and what were your achievements and highlights?

I attended Saint Kentigern College and a highlight of high school was definitely beating Rangitoto at Nationals!
I then was lucky enough to head over to USA where I attended the College of the Sequoias (freshman year) where we made top 8 in the state, and transferred to Northeastern Junior College for my sophomore year before sadly tearing my ACL and forcing a move back home.

You are a role model for young women, what advice do you have for them getting into basketball?

My biggest piece of advice would be to work hard and have fun. We all play basketball because we enjoy it, so make sure your embrace the grind and enjoy the process. 

What has been the ultimate highlight so far in your career? 

My ultimate highlight would definitely be getting selected for the Junior Tall Ferns in 2016 and having the opportunity to travel to China to play against China, Poland and USA national teams. 

Who has been your biggest influence in basketball and why?

This is a tough one as there are so many influential people in the basketball community, but I would have to say my High School coach Colin Driscoll. He was the first person who truly believed in me as a player and was there for me every step of my career. He never failed to get up at 5am to open the gym for me nor did he sugarcoat things. He gave me the confidence I needed when I was deciding if I was good enough to try and get a scholarship to the USA. I wouldn’t have made it this far without him and am forever grateful for him. 

Where do you see women’s basketball in the next five years? 

Each year the women’s game continues to grow so I hope to see an increase in funding and exposure so we can continue to showcase all of the talent we have here in New Zealand. Having Sky Sport show the Sal’s NBL is awesome for women’s basketball and is a step in the right direction- so fingers crossed the 2020 season can go ahead! 

Who is the ultimate women’s basketball player in New Zealand?

That is a tough one, there are so many great players that have unique skill-sets but for me I would go for Micaela Cocks. Although I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting her, she can do everything on the floor and never fails to outwork the opposition. As a guard she is for sure someone I look up to as her work ethic and skill-set combined is unmatched.

In terms of your playing career, what would be the pinnacle for you? 

The pinnacle of my career would no doubt be making the Tall Ferns team. It has been a goal of mine ever since I began playing competitively and is something I am continuing to work towards. I would also like to explore the opportunity of possibly going to Australia to play in the WNBL at some stage in the near future. 

#BuildTheCulture 🏀

Published by Jesse Wallis

Basketball Journalist

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