New Zealand Hoops – Q&A With Dominique Kelman-Poto

What is your full name and where are you from?

    A: Dominique David Tuatini Kelman-Poto from Mangere

Why did you choose the game of basketball? 

    A: I didn’t really choose basketball, in a way, it chose me. I played many sports growing up but was never a star in any of them. It wasn’t till I was year 11, I was sitting the bench for hibiscus coast, coached by Steve Done, a training a college coach from the university of Idaho was watching, and straight after training he told me, if I wanted to, he could get my a full scholarship to the states.

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

    A: MAGS year 9-11

         Northwood Temple Academy (NC)

         Freedom Christian Academy (NC)

         Proctor Academy (New Hampshire) 

         Adelphi College (New York)

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

    A: A wise man once told me, if you want to make it far in basketball you need to write down exactly WHY you want to play only then will you truely be able to give it 100%. Personally I have many why’s, but my number one why is because I love and respect the game.

When it comes to professional basketball 20% is skill while the other 80% is hard work and mentality 

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

    A: Tbh I have had many highlights through my career, from hitting my first 3 as a pro, to scoring my career high of 31 points, but my number 1 highlight is playing alongside 2 NZ greats; Dillion Boucher and Linsey Tait. I learnt so much about being a pro from these 2.

Who has been your biggest influence in basketball and why?

    A: while growing up, my parents were my biggest influence, I was always around basketball especially because my parents had a family tournament that they ran once a year called the Rangatahi tournament. A lot of our older generation ball players will know this tournament. 

Now a days, my partner has taken up this role, before and after every game, we talk about my goals for the game, and if I achieve them or not. She pushes me everyday to not only be the best player on the court but she also pushes me to be better mentally.

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

    A: if I had to choose a women’s player I would have to kick it old school and choose Jody Cameron.

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

    A: Growing up for me I had 2 all time favourites, 1. Tom Abercrombie- whos athleticism  always amazed me, and 2. Dillion Boucher- who not only had skill but his IQ was extremely high. 

Whats the best pair of basketball shoes you have ever owned?  

    A: Definitely would have to go with my PG Gatorades that I wore last season while with the Franklin Bulls. By far the most comfortable shoes I have played in as well.

What were the highlights for you playing in this years NBL? 

    A: Although the season was very short, I really enjoyed playing up to 3 games per week, I loved that I didn’t have to wait a whole week to play again, especially if we lost.

If you have one piece of advice for your younger self, what would it be? 

    A: Try my best to stay away from food. If you know me, you know that I love food.

What are your plans for the future?

    A: At the moment, I am playing in the YMCA Challenger Series where my team GI Rise are in the semis that take place in the city on Saturday, also on the 12th-14th of November, I was fortunate enough to be picked up to play for the Southland sharks 3v3 team. Besides these, I’m not too sure what the future holds for me, but I am still training hard so I’m ready in case I get a contract or something else comes up.

#BuildTheCulture 🏀

Published by Jesse Wallis

Basketball Journalist

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