Q&A With Casey Frank

What is your full name and where are you from?

Casey Frank, born in Long Island, NY but from all over (grew up in NY, Hawaii, Arizona, Cali, Florida and Washington st)

Why did you choose the game of basketball? 

Baseball and gridiron were my first loves but I always liked hoops, but around 10-11 years old I moved (again) and my soon to be best friend was a hoops/Jordan fanatic.  Started hooping constantly and never stopped.

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

Lots of schools for primary/intermediate, but settled on North High School in Phoenix and was 2x all conference, 1x all valley (phoenix is called the valley of the sun) and 1x all state, Went to Northern Arizona University and was 2x all conference.

Lots of highlights (Tripple double vs Mike bibby when he socred 50 on us in High school, an 11 dunk game etc) but the one that sitcks with me is the NCAA tourney v Cincinati when they had Kenyon martin, Rueben Patterson among others.

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

The game only gives back what you give to it. Keep playing and watching and don’t take that bullshit that it’s not a girl’s game. Just work on that craft and kick everybody’s butt! Ask those you look up to for advice and help, more than likely they will want to give it as they wouldn’t be where they are without a helping hand themselves.

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

The world Champs with the TB’s are top of the list, as is the 2006 comm games, and my titles in the NZNBL with Aucks and Welly, but as a standalone when we (TB’s) beat Serbia in Belgrade at Partizan the year they were silver medlaists was a singular team performance.

Who has been your biggest influence in basketball and why?

Tough to say really, but I did have a coach when I was a freshman in High school (Jeff Huizenga) who the summer before my sophmore year started picking me up everyday to workout and hoop at all these courts around the city (Phoenix) where the good games were.  He was the  first to tell me I could take my talent and do something with it and really taught me a level of commitment that I hadn’t yet been exposed to.  Without him I’m not sure I make it out.

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

Ever improving. It’s such a great pathway for an education (by way of university in the states) and the level of coaching and funding is increasing.  It is always tough at the highest level as the funding just isn’t there (either for the Tall Ferns or professionally) but the talent in this country is undeniable in the women’s game.

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

Right now I’d have to Say Tara Reed.

But I don’t think it will be long before Charlise Ledger-Walker is the standard that all our women hoopers aspire to.

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

Not counting Steven Adams? All time for me it was PC, his effect on winning was immeasurable and was legit the strongest person I ever came across on the court.

Right now I think it’s a toss up between Tai Webster and Isacc Fotu. I’ll give it to Isacc as his accomplishments aren’t widely known about here, but that dude is a problem on the block and I love his game.

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

Every day really. I just always loved being part of the game and was blessed to be a part of it, but a couple do stand out. Being on 3 world cup teams and always finishing in the top 16 each time (making it through to crossover) was an acheivement that I was very proud of, the only other teams to do that were USA, Lithuania and Spain (at the time from my recollection). That was pretty special and the Comm games silver medal was pretty sweet.

Whats the best pair of basketball shoes you have owned? 

Tie between the And 1 Tai Chi’s and the Kobe 4’s. both amazing shoes

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

Have a higher level of self-belief and dedicate yourself to the game a bit more in terms of diet sleep habits and actual skill craft. 

After basketball you have become a TV show host and a basketball commentator, what made you take the leap?

Luck. I love chatting about the game and when we were at the 2010 world cup I asked Dil who was commenting on breaker games that next season (as my contract offers weren’t enough to make me want to go overseas again) and he said nobody, want me to put your name in? I said yes, had a lil tryout and when we got back I was fortunate to get the green light. Hopefully I’ve improved…

You played for the New Zealand Breakers and the Tall Blacks, please tell me about these experiences? 

Year 1 of the Breakers was a trip. Not a great set up but a great group of guys.  Most of us lived in the same building so it was a lot like uni (except we couldn’t win), thankfully that all improved over time, but sadly I wasn’t there by then.

TB’s is another animal. I practiced with the boys before i got my passport and the effort level was phenomenal.  What the staff asks of you for those tours is something not many are able to give much less maintain. But I loved it and loved playing with those dudes, my brothers to this day.

Who has been the toughest player that you have had to guard?

Quite a few on the list (Dirk, Luis Scola, Pau and Marc Gasol, Anthony Davis, Boogie Cousins, Faried) but the one I think about most is Anderson Varijeao (spelling?) from Brazil/ Cavs. We played 5 games v Brazil over 13 days in the buildup to the 2006 World Cup and he was so hard to keep off the glass.. He wasn’t well known yet but I remember one game where we couldn’t keep him off the O boards. I remember when Nenad challenged the team at half time, “who is he the best rebounder in the World?” and I thought to myself, ” I think he might be”

What has been your biggest achievement outside of basketball? 

Kinda part of basketball, but just getting out of the places I grew up. Most of the guys I grew up with either went to the Army or prison and I live on an island on the other side of the world from all that! That as well as getting my degrees (BS is Criminal Justice undergrad and a MBA from AUT) are things I’m quite proud of, but really I can’t go past being a father to my two kids who amaze me every day (Willow 4, Oakly 6 months)

#BuildTheCulture 🏀

Published by Jesse Wallis

Basketball Journalist

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