Jesse: What is your full name and where are you from?
Mark: Mark Rogers. Born in Christchurch but moved around a lot as a kid.
Jesse: Why did you choose the game of basketball?
I was introduced to basketball in my first year at high school (Form Three for us old people). Phil Glasson was my first coach at Dannevirke High School. I had been playing rugby, cricket and tennis before that. I loved that I got to touch the ball a lot, there was lots of fast paced action, and as a prop or flanker in rugby, I didn’t miss getting stuck on the bottom of a ruck (back when you could ruck!)
Jesse: What secondary schools did you attend and did you play basketball?
Mark: Dannevirke High School and St John’s College Hamilton. Played at both schools and got to Nationals three times.
Jesse: You are the General Manager of the Tauranga Basketball Association, please tell me how you came to have this role and what you do?
Mark: My current role was created in 2010 and was similar to what I had done in Otago previously, taking a mainly voluntary organisation into a more professional structure. Now the focus is to grow the association and provide more basketball opportunities to our wider community.
Jesse: You are a role model for young women and men, what advice do you have for them getting into basketball?
Mark: Focus on what you can control. There are a lot of things going on you have no control over and worrying about them doesn’t help you.
Jesse: What has been the highlight of your basketball career?
Mark: As a player – Winning Third Division and being MVP of the National tournament, Playing 2nd Division for Waikato and North Harbour, being captain of the New Zealand Universities team, playing at three Secondary School Nationals.
As a Coach – Winning a game with the NZ Secondary Schools team against the Australian Secondary School team (included Patty Mills), Coaching BBNZ National Age group sides, Coaching Men’s 2nd Division, seeing players I have coached progress and develop.
As an Administrator – seeing the organisations I have worked for (both paid and voluntary) develop and grow. For example the growth of the Mel Young Easter Basketball Classic.
Jesse: Who is the ultimate men’s basketball player from New Zealand?
Mark: Sean Marks for me – as he broke ceilings for NZ on the court and continues to do so off the court. (Plus he is one of two players who have dunked on me).
Jesse: Who has been your biggest influence in basketball and why?
Mark: My parents supported any sport I got into. Without their support I would not have had the opportunities I did. In the basketball community, Mel Young. Mel was my school coach, history teacher, colleague when I worked at St John’s, and a mentor for me (and he reffed some of my games). He had a huge impact and did amazing things for the sport. And of course my first coach Phil Glasson who got me hooked on basketball.
Jesse: Have you had any regrets in your basketball career?
Mark: Not being 6’ 8” tall.
Jesse: Who is the ultimate women’s basketball player in New Zealand?
Mark: Because I’m old school – Carolyn Grey for her toughness and competitiveness.
Jesse: If you had one piece of advice for your younger self what would it be?
Mark: Shut up and get on with playing. Like many young players, I got distracted by calls that didn’t go my way or other things I couldn’t control.
Jesse: The Tauranga Basketball Association is a part of Basketball Pacific, please tell me about Basketball Pacific and what the organization does?
Mark: Basketball Pacific is a registered charity, made up of 12 BBNZ affiliated associations. Its focus is on Development and providing opportunities, that the member associations can’t do individually. This includes referee, coach and manager development as well as player development. Basketball Pacific members agree each year on the programme for the following year. Currently Basketball Pacific run, the Mel Young Easter Classic at Easter, the Under 12 Jamboree in July, Koru Camps and the Koru tour to Australia in January, An Adult rep league (twice a year) and usually an U12 tour to Melbourne in November.
Jesse: How can we improve basketball in New Zealand?
Mark: Focus on what is best for the players and other participants and their development.
Jesse: Who is the G.O.A.T?
Mark: Larry Bird, made other players great, didn’t look for recognition or lime light, was extremely competitive and played for his team and their collective success.