Jesse: What is your full name and where are you from?
Kael Robinson, Hamilton
Jesse: Why did you choose the game of basketball?
Kael: To be honest it was a forced decision based on the high school I attended. I played both rugby and basketball until year 9 where the school I was at didn’t have a good rugby programme. However the basketball programme was the best in the school so I chose to play basketball and drop rugby.
Jesse: What schools have you attended, and what are your achievements and highlights?
Kael: I first attended Hamilton Fraser High school for yr 9 – 11 some of my achievements are: Making the senior team in yr 10 and going to nationals.
Highlights were: playing well at secondary school nationals in yr 10 and earning junior team MVP and overall academy MVP
I moved to St. John’s college Hamilton half way through 2018. Some of my achievements there were: Steven Adams camp 2019 & 2020, NZ Junior Tall Blacks camp, Junior Tall Blacks reserve 2020.
Highlights: coming fourth at 2018 nationals and definitely winning the Mel young high school invitational tournament (in place of nationals)
Jesse: You are a role model for our younger generation, what advice do you have for them getting into basketball?
Kael: It’s one of the first motivational quotes I read when I decided to play basketball and it’s “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard – Kevin Durant”. Also be a sponge, soak up all the knowledge you can from your coach and older teammates.
Jesse: What has been the ultimate highlight in your basketball career?
Kael: Signing with the Saints, I remember watching some of my teammates play when I was younger and wishing I was on their team and now I am.
Jesse: Who has been your biggest influence in basketball and why?
Kael: There hasn’t been one massive influencer. But there have been a few big ones such as coaches. Coach Jeff Green started me on my basketball journey, my next Coach Puke Lenden definitely has grown my skills, IQ level in the 4 years I have played for him. And easily my teammates Finn Lally and Akiva McBirney Griffin. The competitive environment that we were in grew us as basketball players, and we always pushed each other to get better and that definitely has had an influence on me.
Jesse: How do you mentally prepare yourself for a game?
Kael: I’m pretty chill. I get over excited the whole week that by the time the game comes around I’m chill. I just listen to my music and trust in my training.
Jesse: Who is the ultimate women’s basketball player in New Zealand?
Kael: Charlisse Leger-Walker
Jesse: Who is the ultimate men’s basketball player in New Zealand?
Jesse: In terms of your playing career, what would be the pinnacle for you?
Kael: All star level NBA player. Been the dream since I started playing.
Jesse: Whats the best pair of basketball shoes you have owned?
Kael: Either Kobe Exodus AD’s or PG 4’s/5’s. Light, comfy, supportive and they look good
Jesse: Who has been the hardest person to guard in your career and why?
Kael: Dion Prewster, fundamental sound, very strong, very quick, very experienced.
Jesse: Who is the greatest player of all time and why?
Kael: Lebron, I don’t see MJ guarding someone with his size and athleticism. But it’s close between the two.
Jesse: If you had one piece of advice for your younger self, what would it be?
Kael: Keep being a sponge, soak up all the knowledge from your coaches and never give up.
Jesse: Can basketball in New Zealand be improved?
Kael: There is always room for improvement. But yes, especially for the age group level.
Jesse: What is your favorite food?
Kael: Definitely Subway, by far.
Jesse: Best basketball movie or book of all time?
Kael: Coach Carter and Steven Adams book.
Jesse: You have recently signed with the Wellington Saints, how excited are you to be a rookie in the NBL and how have you been preparing yourself for the up and coming season?
Kael: Very excited, I can’t wait to start playing. I’ve been preparing by training almost everyday and hitting the gym whenever I can.