What is your full name and where are you from?
Finn Lally and I’m from Hamilton.
Why did you choose the game of basketball?
Growing up I was into a lot of different sports and for a long time I was always thinking I was going to become a cricketer. It wasn’t until I attended St John’s that I decided to give up on cricket because I believed I had more potential in basketball as well as more pathways through the sport. Basketball was always just something where I was able to be myself and express myself that way.
What schools did you attend? and what were your achievements and highlights?
Was at St John’s College for the past 5 years and was honoured to be the Head Boy of the school for 2020. As well as playing basketball I always wanted to be a great student so I made sure that my academics were always in check, which helped me become an excellence endorsed student. With regards to basketball, being able to represent my country was always a dream of mine and something I am forever grateful for.
You are a role model for young men wanting to follow in your foot steps, what advice do you have for them?
Don’t be afraid of failure. Many times I’ve struggled to do something and also failed. These are the times where I learnt the most. Understanding what I did wrong and how I can fix it, is something that is often hard to do but necessary. Keep trying new things and pushing boundaries as these are the times where you will learn the most about yourself.
What has been the ultimate highlight so far in your career?
Being able to attend the 2019 Nike All-Asia camp was huge for me. Being able to learn from all the coaches there as well as playing alongside Kyle Kuzma in a couple scrims was quite a cool experience.
Who has been your biggest influence in basketball and why?
All the coaches I’ve had throughout my career, especially Mel Young and Puke Lenden. Mel was the first person when I was younger to believe in me and place me under his wing. Even when he was getting really sick towards the end of his life he still made time to coach me as much as he could, which is why I wear the #43 to honour him and represent the 43 years he spent at St John’s. After his passing Puke took over the program and allowed me to become the player I am today. I have a skills coach in the US, Coach Ruben Luna, who I have worked with in NZ and he also had me come up to California. He took me to a few colleges and gave me a taste of what’s possible with hard work.
What have you been up to this summer?
Not much really, I’ve always been more of a stay at home type of guy. Just training hard to make sure that I’m ready for the 2021 season has been my main focus.
Who is the ultimate women’s basketball player in New Zealand?
Watching someone like Charlisse do the things she’s doing in America is truly unbelievable. I’m still amazed every time she wins a freshman of the week award.
Who is the ultimate men’s basketball player in New Zealand?
Steven Adams and Kirk Penney. Two players who are completely different but both so talented and hard working. Seeing a kiwi in the NBA while growing up is something that not everyone is able to experience, as well as being drafted to my favourite team the thunder. I have always looked up to Steven and all he does in New Zealand to grow the game of basketball.
In terms of your playing career, what would be the pinnacle for you?
I’m just going to try play this game for as long as I can, where that takes me will be up to how hard I work. I’m going to keep focusing on what’s ahead of me at the current time so I’m looking forward to hopefully a successful season in the NBL this year.
Whats the best pair of basketball shoes you have owned?
Never really been a massive shoe guy, but I can remember one of the first basketball shoes I owned were some bright orange KD 6’s that I still think are iconic. Always tried to do my best Durant impressions while wearing those and felt unstoppable at times.
Who has been the hardest person to guard in your career and why?
Josh Giddey for sure, he torched me up. I’d probably say the less we talk about it the better but it has helped me learn and become a better player.
You have recently signed with the mighty Manawatu Jets, how excited are you for your debut season in the NBL?
I’m just grateful for the opportunity Coach Tim has offered to me. I will make sure that I work hard and help us towards our goal of winning an NBL title. Whatever I have to do to help the team succeed I am willing and excited to do. Being able to learn from the older players we have in the squad and the imports as well, I’m going to try pick their brains as much as I can throughout the year.
Who is the G.O.A.T?
LeBron James for sure. Freak of nature that has achieved so much in the game of basketball.