Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Standout finals could open NBA door for Penney
Waikato Times; Hamilton, New Zealand; Mar 18, 2003; ANDERSON, Ian;


Kirk Penney believes a standout performance in US college basketball's finals showpiece could help make him New Zealand's second NBA player.

Penney is expected to be the star turn for Wisconsin in the NCAA college tournament featuring the country's top 64 teams which starts on Friday (NZ time).

Penney told the Waikato Times he had received calls from a number of agents regarding his draft prospects but didn't have much of an idea if he would be eventually picked to follow fellow Kiwi Sean Marks into the world's best basketball league.

"The whole thing is pretty much out of my control," Penney said.

"You just don't know who exactly may be looking at you and what teams want in terms of certain players."

But Penney admitted that if he displays his best form when Big 10 Conference champions Wisconsin meet Weber St in the first round on Friday, he will notably increase his chances of being chosen in the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft in the US in June.

"If you finish your season strong then it's fresh in the minds of the GMs (general managers) and scouts watching," Penney said.

"Doing well gives you the exposure at the right time of the year.

"It'd be good to match up against some of the other guys in the tournament who are chances to be taken in the draft too, just to show what you can do."

A 1.96-metre shooting guard, Penney is set to complete his senior year at Wisconsin and is rated by some critics as a prospective second round NBA draft pick after leading the Badgers scoring this season with 16.3 points per game, along with 5.9 rebounds and three assists.

If selected, he would follow Marks -- taken by the New York Knicks as number 44 in the 1998 draft and immediately traded to the Toronto Raptors -- as the second Kiwi to be taken by an NBA side.

Marks now plays for the Miami Heat but an elbow injury has put him out for the rest of the season and he becomes a free agent at the end of it.