What is your full name and where are you from?
Benoit Hayman from Dunedin, New Zealand
Why did you choose the game of basketball?
I began playing in primary school, following my friends into the sport and have enjoyed playing ever since
What schools did you attend and what were your achievements and highlights?
Dunedin North Intermediate
Otago Boys’ High School
University of Otago
University of North Carolina (exchange program)
University of Lausanne (Switzerland)
Highlights included winning secondary school nationals with Otago Boys’ and experiencing the basketball atmosphere at North Carolina.
You are a role model for young men, what advice do you have for them getting into basketball?
I am a firm believer that persistence pays of off. If you are passionate and motivated, you will see the dividends of your hard work. I believe it is important to encourage the next generation to give basketball a try. The game can offer so many pthways, imprints great values such as teamwork and discipline, and is purely enjoyable. Even if young players do not reach their competitive peak or simply play just for fun the game still provides a means for socialising and generates friendships for life.
What has been the ultimate highlight so far in your career?
As we were significant underdogs beating Rangitoto College in the national semi-final stands out for me.
Who has been your biggest influence in basketball and why?
I have been fortunately to have many great coaches and teammates throughout my time playing who each in their own way positively influenced me personally and as a player. Mark Dickel was particularly great as a coach and mentor. He always had time for us and truly showed an unparallel passion for his craft. My dad was also instrumental to any success I may have had, watching all my games even when I was in a different time-zone and providing guidance whenever needed.
Who is the ultimate women’s basketball player in New Zealand?
I have not watched the Tall Ferns nearly enough, but I remember watching the Leger-Walker sisters at High School and rep tournaments. They were steps ahead of the competition and impressive to watch.
Who is the ultimate mens basketball player in New Zealand?
Difficult to provide just one. Lots of great players were on display at this years NBL Showdown so it was great to play with and against each of them. It’s hard to go past Steven Adams given what he has done at the highest level but the best player to watch would have to be Corey Webster.
In terms of your playing career, what would be the pinnacle for you?
Currently I do not have any specific targets. I just want to play to my potential with the time I have and wherever that leads me is where I’ll go.
Who is winning this year’s NBA championship?
I would love to see a Celtics vs. Lakers final for old times sake, but I expect the Clippers will get it done.
What’s the best pair of basketball shoes you have owned?
Kobe 7’s would be my all time favourite although New Balance have made a strong entry into the market.
You played in this years NBL. What were the highlights for you?
Naturally winning the title with the hometown Otago Nuggets takes the cake. In general, all the time with my teammates was great and we had lots of laughs. It was a special experience spending 6 weeks in Auckland with basketballers from all over the country and the world.