Q&A With Alex Talma

Jesse: What is your full name and where are you from?

Alex Talma, from Auckland, NZ.

Jesse: Why did you choose the game of basketball?

Alex: I was taller than most kids so got talked into trying basketball at age 10. Attended North Harbour tryouts and it really just went from

Jesse: What schools have you attended, and what are your achievements and highlights?

Alex: Westlake Boys High School, won the national title in year 13 (7th Form
year). Biola University on Basketball Scholarship. Graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Marketing / Management.

Jesse: You are a role model for our younger generation. What advice do you
have for them getting into basketball?

Alex: Have fun with it, build your confidence from your work ethic, have a great attitude, be a great teammate and don’t give up. Prove yourself every day.  Don Johnston, a coach from the US who coached me at Biola, I was a UCLA all-american under John Wooden. He would tell us to be T.S.U – Tough, Smart, Unselfish. To him that was the ultimate basketball player – I agree.

Jesse: What has been the ultimate highlight in your basketball career?

Alex: Achieving my dream of playing college basketball. Beating Azusa Pacific in a rivalry game while in College. Being a part of the
Canterbury Rams has been a great experience. Having the opportunity to
compete and be in a team environment. So many amazing teams I have been blessed to be a part of. From Reps, to Westlake, to NZ age groups, Breakers Dev Academy, Biola University Playing for coach Dr. Dave Holmquist at Biola. There are so many things to list. Ultimately the relationships / Friendships i’ve created through the game of basketball has been my biggest and greatest success.

Jesse: Who has been your biggest influence in basketball and why?

Alex: My mother – Taught me that attitude is everything and to never let me give up.

Jesse: How do you mentally prepare yourself for a game?

Alex: I like to mentally visualise myself on the court and set some goals for the game. I always try to focus on my Defence and Rebounding and let the game go from there. Getting shots up beforehand is a big part
of getting ready to play.

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

Alex: Pero Cameron. He coached me at the Waikato Pistons in 2014. We would
play some 1v1 games before practice. One of the NZ greats for sure. In saying that there are many great NZ players i’ve watched and looked up to over the years.

Jesse: In terms of your playing career, what has been the most significant highlight for you?

Alex: Achieving my dream of playing College Basketball in the USA on a full basketball scholarship and graduating with my bachelors degree. Basketball has been the vehicle that has helped me achieve so many
great things and go to so many great places.

Jesse: What’s the best pair of basketball shoes you have owned?

Alex: Lebron 18.

Jesse: Who has been the hardest person to guard in your career and why?

Alex: have played against many great players but there isn’t one person in particular that comes to mind.

Jesse: Who is the greatest player of all time and why?

I believe Lebron James. All things considered and what he has accomplished. One of the most complete basketball players to play the game.

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

Alex: To be more confident and to develop a more well rounded skill set earlier. These days both bigs and guards need to be able to shoot the 3, dribble under pressure, bring the ball up the floor. The game is becoming more versatile, quicker, and more efficient to where it’s all layups/dunks and 3’s (all about getting the best and highest percentage shot).

Jesse: Can basketball in New Zealand be improved?

Alex: Yes – big time. It’s already growing rapidly and this is just the beginning. More and more kiwis are attending US colleges. I think more funding and more facilities would be great of course. Seeing more
opportunities for kids to get involved, more resources for schools and exposure to NBL teams. I love what the Canterbury Rams do in the community. There is a great focus on development and the Rams as a local figure / role model in the community. The Rams presence in the local community is huge. The NBL teams have a huge reach within their respective communities and more funding for NBL teams / leagues to promote basketball, run camps, get their name out there would be awesome and there is so much potential to boost local engagement /
development / opportunity for kids through the NBL and the respective
local NBL teams.

Jesse: What is your favorite food?

Alex: BBQ is my favourite at the moment.

Jesse: Best basketball movie or book of all time?

I barely watch TV or Movies. Book wise; Alonzo Mourning – Resilience;
Mike Krzyzewski – Leading with the Heart.

Alex: You started playing for the Canterbury Rams in 2019, please tell me about the experience so far and what have been some highlights while being with the organization?

Alex: It’s been amazing. Mick Downer has been a great coach and the Rams Organization has been awesome. There is a real team first approach to basketball, a focus on playing the game how it’s meant to be played (Unselfish team basketball). I have had highlights every year. In 2019 traveling to Tasmania when the Huskies were based there. To making the Final Four which was hosted at Horncastle Arena in Christchurch. In 2020 playing in the NBL Showdown, to losing 10 straight games to make it to the semi final playoff game. This year (2021) has been awesome getting back up and running after COVID-19 following the ‘normal’
season structure. The Rams are an extremely supportive club with high integrity and a real focus on player and personal development. I have enjoyed being there very much and have been truly blessed by the people I have met and the experiences I have had with the Rams.

Jesse: Favorite basketball move?

Alex: Hook shot. WIthout it, I may not have gone as far with basketball – Haha.

Jesse: Favorite basketball team to watch?

Alex: LA Lakers.

Jesse: What music do you listen to?

Everything from the Artists Future (Rap) to Creed (Rock).

#BuildTheCulture 🏀

Published by Jesse Wallis

Basketball Journalist

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