Dilworth’s Reinvigorated Basketball Programme a Slam Dunk

Date: 15 Mar 2023

Pathways to US colleges, high performance development opportunities and access to top level coaching are just some of the hallmarks of Dilworth’s fast-growing basketball programme.

Since Coach Josiah Maama took the helm in 2021, the school has rapidly carved its place as a formidable force on the court, and his ambitious five year growth strategy is already beating expectations.

“When I started as Director of Basketball our five year plan was to get into the Senior A and we did that in one year. Our next goal is to get into the Premier space,” says Josiah, whose passion and prowess have put basketball firmly on the Dilworth map.

Last year Dilworth took a junior team to AIMS for the first time in the school’s history, and this year they’ve secured entry into a prestigious Central North Island tournament with top teams from boys’ schools in Hamilton, Tauranga, Taupo and Rotorua. Dilworth is now on the radar of some of the country’s most promising basketball players and Josiah is quietly pleased.

“People are noticing that we are a growing force in the game. We’re building a strong basketball culture that’s starting to be viewed through the same lens as rugby, and athletes are wanting to come here to develop.”

Year 12 student Ezrah Eagle is a stellar example.

“He’s from Hastings but he came to Dilworth last year. He’s now made it into the Junior Tall Blacks wider squad and will be training with the Auckland Tuatara this season. Recent Dilworth graduates Luke Sinisa and Noah McKenzie are now playing in the States and are being scouted and offered scholarships by NCAA colleges, and Noah’s older brother Zac played in the NBL last season.

“You can come to Dilworth, focus on your development on and off the court, and have great resources to get to higher levels – and because of that, we’re starting to see more athletes look at Dilworth as a pathway to enhancing those opportunities.”

Josiah Maama, Director of Basketball at Dilworth School.
Respected in the basketball world, Josiah has dedicated the last 12 years to bringing out the best in players. He has worked with the NZ Breakers and learned from the Tall Blacks, and is currently an assistant coach for the Auckland Tuatara. His strong network has enabled him to attract high-level coaches to the school including current professional players Kane Keil and Luye Murphy, representative coaches Christian Ward and Cairo Kotuhi, and Breakers Coach Intern, Roei Rotenberg.

He and brother Sione also launched GI Rise in 2017, an organisation offering free coaching to aspiring basketballers lacking the financial resources to develop in the sport. Initially run in East Auckland, the programme has now also been integrated into Dilworth, providing unique opportunities for Dilworth students.

“We run GI Rise sessions at Dilworth during the holidays and in Term 4. You’ll see two or three of our students training with guys from the Breakers, the Tall Blacks and college players from the States. It’s great for Dilworth players because they’re training with their peers at a high performance level.”

But despite Dilworth’s newfound basketball success, for Josiah it’s about much more than just winning.

“For me it’s not about the thrills, the big competitions or the bright lights of the stadium. My favourite days are practice days. There are so many benefits to be gained and life lessons to be learned. Players develop a strong sense of belonging and benefit greatly from the active support of Dilworth staff. Headmaster Dan Reddiex is incredibly busy, yet he still comes to all the games and watches countless practices. That kind of support is incredibly powerful.”