Tall Blacks coach scores local role

Wednesday, Oct 06 2021

Tall Blacks coach scores local role

Will Johnston

Tall Blacks coach Pero Cameron will give Taranaki’s basketball a boost after accepting a new role.  

The 47-year-old former international point guard has been appointed director of basketball for the Taranaki Mountainairs.

Cameron inked a one-year deal with the franchise with a focus on youth development and will be part of appointing the Mountainairs’ coaching staff in the coming months. 

Born in Tokoroa and educated at Whangarei Boys’ High School, Cameron started playing domestically for Waikato in 1992. He notched up a near-30 year on court career and played for nine other teams, including the New Zealand Breakers, Tall Blacks and teams in Iran and Turkey.

He made his debut for the national side in 1994 and attended two Olympic Games, three World Championships and claimed a silver medal in the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Off the court, Cameron claimed two consecutive national titles with the Wellington Saints in 2010 and 2011 and named coach of the year in his first season. He became the Tall Blacks assistant coach in 2011, before taking over the top role in 2019.

He amassed 11 league titles, nine as a player and two as a coach.

In 2017, Cameron was the first New Zealander to be inducted into the International Basketball Hall of Fame and subsequently appointed Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2019. 

The father-of-three said he’s looking forward to returning to the league which gave him a start and growing basketball in the “great region of Taranaki.”

“The Airs have struggled on the court in recent years, but the work they do off the court has set them up for a great future and it’s one I’m excited to be apart of,” he said.

Mountainairs general manager Mitchell Langton said locking in Cameron was a real coup for sport in the region.

“The Airs are very excited to bring someone of Pero’s status to the region,” he said.

“Not only does he coach the Tall Blacks, but he also has a strong emphasis on culture and developing the region is where we pride ourselves on.”

The Airs’ schools programme grew last year and Langton hopes it becomes a year-round project with Cameron’s input.

“We will also be building a core support network that focusses on Māori and Pasifika in the region, who don’t usually get the opportunity to play basketball, let alone spend some time with the Tall Blacks head coach.”