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High hoops . . . Nale Fifita is rising through the basketball ranks. PHOTO: HAYDEN MEIKLE

A rising star of North Otago basketball has ticked off another major achievement.

Nale Fifita, the wildly talented Waitaki Boys’ High School pupil, has been named in a New Zealand under-16 select team to tour Australia next month.

The skilled forward trialled for the national side in December at the age of 14.

While he missed out on the top squad, his abilities have been recognised with selection in the back-up squad for what will be a great opportunity to progress his hoops career.

The select team has been invited to a Melbourne tournament, the Medibank Classic, from June 8 to 13.

Included in the team is Michael Ruske, from the prominent Otago basketball family.

Fifita, who recently turned 15, was still “very raw” but was developing nicely, Waitaki Boys’ basketball academy coach Ian Cathcart said.

“We are really working on developing his fundamental skills further. He’s a natural-born leader, which is very powerful in any sport.

“He’s got a long way to go to reach his goal of attending college in USA, but this will definitely help his progression, along with his involvement in Mark Dickel’s Mainland Eagles academy.”