Jesse: What is your full name and where are you from?
Aidan Tonge, Rotorua New Zealand
Jesse: Why did you choose the game of basketball?
Aidan: Growing up I played rugby league and soccer but in year 6 I picked up basketball. I played all three during intermediate but in year 9 I had to make the decision and choose between the three, so i could focus and really make a name for myself, I chose basketball as I thought i had the brightest future there.
Jesse: What schools have you attended, and what are your achievements and highlights?
Aidan: Otonga Primary School Rotorua Intermediate School Rotorua Boys High School, Steven Adams invitational 2020, Junior tall black reserve for 2020, A part of the Canterbury Rams squad 2021, Captain of the Super 8 championship team 2020, Tournament Team Super 8 2020, Battle of the Bombay’s 2020 tournament team.
Jesse: You are a role model for our younger generation what advice do you have for them getting into basketball?
Aidan: Learn, not matter what level you’re at in your career there is always ways to learn more about the game. There will be people surrounding you where you can ask questions and absorb what they know about the game, as you grow older you meet more and more people who know a wider range, continue to ask questions about anything and everything can’t be shy!
Jesse: What has been the ultimate highlight in your basketball career?
Aidan: Being Captain for Rotorua Boys High and winning the Super 8 title in overtime against Napier Boys.
Jesse: Who has been your biggest influence in basketball and why?
Aidan: Theo Tait, Mark Elers, Douglas Courtney, These men have had me since I was Year 9, they have helped develop my game into what it is now with the style of play they bring. Constant effort combined with hard work that they bring to every training. Growing talent, not just mine but within the RBHS program.
Jesse: How do you mentally prepare yourself for a game?
Aidan: Focusing on myself and achieving all the little things i need to do before I play, ticking these off gets my mindset right before playing.
Jesse: Who is the ultimate women’s basketball player in New Zealand?
Aidan: Leanne Walker.
Jesse: Who is the ultimate men’s basketball player in New Zealand?
Aidan: Pero Cameron
Jesse: In terms of your playing career, what would be the pinnacle for you?
Aidan: Pro Contract with a NZNBL team.
Whats the best pair of basketball shoes you have owned?
Jesse: Best basketball shoes you have owned?
Aidan: Wolf Grey Kyrie 1’s
Jesse: Who has been the hardest person to guard in your career and why?
Aidan: Jack Salt, the physicality and mindset he has when playing is second to none. He’ll have you working your ass off to stay in front, great foot work around the paint making yourself second guess actions. His length and physique add to his strengths when you have to guard him.
Jesse: Who is the greatest player of all time and why?
Aidan: Michael Jordan, His mindset and work ethic was like no other. What he achieved was amazing, you hear the stories of his competitors and it’s crazy.
Jesse: If you had one piece of advice for your younger self, what would it be?
Aidan: Work harder, put more of your time and effort into basketball, seeing how hard kids are working now if i applied that to my work then i would be a lot better of a player.
Jesse: Can basketball in New Zealand be improved?
Aidan: It’s 100% on the right track, we are encouraging it and getting it involved at a younger age, the sport is growing which is only a positive thing. Leagues across NZ are expanding, new tournaments and competitions are forming every year.
Women Basketball is getting the recognition it deserves, showing talent across the nation.
Jesse: What is your favorite food?
Aidan: Don Buri
Jesse: Best basketball movie or book of all time?
Aidan: The Last Dance
Jesse: You recently got called up to play for the Canterbury Rams, please tell me how this came to be?
Aidan: Coach Piet Van Hasslet contact Mick Downer about myself and I was fortunate enough to be invited to train with the preseason squad which exposed to the environment, the culture and the camaraderie down here and it’s nothing like i’ve ever experienced. So i kept training and doing my bit in and around the team and i was offered an amateur pro contract to play full time.
Jesse: Favorite basketball move?