New Zealand Hoops – Q&A With Sean Murphy

What is your full name and where are you from?

My name is Sean Joseph Murphy, and I’m from Auckland, New Zealand. 

Why did you choose the game of basketball? 

I chose the game of basketball to be my sport after playing both rugby and soccer at a young age. After not enjoying either of the two as much as basketball, I decided to keep with the sport since I enjoyed it so much even though I wasn’t spectacular at it. My older cousin also played the game at a high level so he inspired me to keep playing as a youngster. 

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

As a kid, I attended multiple primary schools; Gulf Harbour, Wentworth and Stella Marris all of which are on Auckland’s Hibiscus Coast. I went to Rosmini College right from Year 7 to Year 13, playing on the basketball team each year in each age group. I’ve appreciated the values and brotherhood the school has taught me whilst offering me a great education. Some of my best achievements and highlights at the school would have to be winning back to back Senior Premiership titles in 2017 and 2018 at the Secondary Schools New Zealand Nationals, and in the following year, 2019, getting the opportunity to travel with my school team to Greece to play in the ISF World High School Championships were we finished 6th place. 

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

I would say just keep pushing yourself to learn and achieve as much as you can, because the one thing you guys have is time. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, that’s how you learn. Make sure to always listen to your coaches and put in 110% effort at both trainings and games. And most important of all, have fun! 

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

Probably signing my scholarship to play at the University of Nebraska, Kearney. It has always been a long time dream of mine to play in the states and it’s going to be especially good playing at a high level. If not that definitely making the New Zealand Junior Tall Blacks in February of this year. 

Who has been your biggest influence in basketball and why?

I have had many influences over my time playing basketball so far, and all of taught me a great amount of discipline and teachings to get me where I am today. Probably the most influential for me would be the late Fata Letoa, manager of the Skycity Breakers in past seasons, he was my mentor. He taught me to never give up on my goals and he trained me to push myself as hard as I can. He was inspirational to me as he had enough fight to battle his illness for an extra two years than expected. 

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

I can’t give a definitive answer here, but Charlisse Leger-Walker has been an inspiration to a lot high school athletes, as she has proven no matter your age, you can still achieve amazing things whilst being one of the youngest on the court at the international stage.

Who is the ultimate mens basketball player in New Zealand? 

Definitely Steven Adams. Although he wasn’t the first to make it to the NBA, (Megan Compain in 1997 and Sean Marks 1998). Steven certainly has been the most successful. He continues to be a huge inspiration to all New Zealanders no matter the sport, and hopefully we will see him in a Tall Blacks uniform at some stage. 

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

The pinnacle for me would be the NBA. Although I obviously have a huge, long road ahead of me, in past years I have developed more confidence from the people in my close circle to put my mind to goals and stick to them. Otherwise I’d like to play professionally elsewhere or put my future degree from university to good use. 

Whats the best pair of basketball shoes you have owned? 

Probably the KD 12’s. I have two pairs at the moment, one black and one grey. They are surprisingly comfy. 

You played in this years NBL. What were the highlights for you? 

Well this year’s NBL Showdown was a great way for me to learn and grow as a player. Being a development player for the Auckland Huskies, I learned what the environment, playing style, and competition was like at New Zealand’s highest level. I guess the highlight for me was gaining advice and knowledge from some of NZ’s best players; Leon Henry, Tohi Smith Milner, Izayah Leafa and of course head coach Kevin Braswell. 

Who is the toughest player that you have had to guard?

For me, probably the toughest player I’ve had to guard is Tom Vodanovich at a scrimmage. He’s a very versatile player for his position and he can score, rebound and play-make at a high level. 

Are you planning on heading to the States at some point?

Yes I am. As previously stated, I am heading to the University of Nebraska, Kearney next year in August on a full ride athletic scholarship to play for Coach Kevin Lofton and the Lopers in the MIAA conference. It will be an exciting opportunity and i’m really grateful for everyone who has helped me reach this point. For the meantime I’ll be training and hopefully playing in next years NZNBL. 

#BuildTheCulture 🏀

Published by Jesse Wallis

Basketball Journalist

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