Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) is excited to announce the establishment of a new-look, nationwide domestic basketball league for 2024 and beyond, the TUPU League.
TUPU League will operate as a regionally focused, second-division amateur basketball league for men and women, replacing the U23 Nationals and D-League tournaments that have operated in previous years. The amateur status of the competition means that players competing in TUPU League can retain their eligibility status for US College basketball.
TUPU League’s primary aim is to provide a competition which encourages representative players to continue playing for their local associations, after they finish school or university – providing a platform of competitive basketball to help bridge the gap between the U20 Nationals and the NBL/Tauihi professional leagues.
The name TUPU League is derived from the Māori word Tupu – which means to grow or develop – and BBNZ Chief Executive, with consultation undertaken with Te Māori Committee around the appropriate usage of the name and logo.
Dillon Boucher says that TUPU League will provide an additional level of basketball for athletes to access and develop their skills in.
“TUPU League will be an important part of our athlete pathways, as the more opportunities we can give our Kiwi athletes to play, the better their development and growth will be,” says Boucher.
“The League is designed to cater to a range of athlete levels, from players looking to showcase their skills in the hopes of being seen by Sal’s NBL or GJ Gardner Homes Tauihi teams, to those wanting to build up their resume for overseas colleges or Clubs. For other players, TUPU League can be their basketball ceiling; the highest level of competition they aspire to.”
Boucher says that the key theme behind TUPU League is filling a gap in basketball competition for younger players, keeping them interested in the game when other opportunities may not be available for them at that time.
“Keeping our athletes interested and engaged is key, we always want to give them something to aim towards. For instance, if a player doesn’t make the cut for the Auckland Tuatara or Northern Kahu that year, TUPU gives them a development pathway so they can continue towards achieving that goal in the future.”
How TUPU League Will Work
The Associations will run TUPU League qualifier events between 22 April – 31 May 2024 for the Women’s League, and 16 September – 25 October for the Men’s League. A minimum of six games per association must be played during this time, either over a six-week period or in a single tournament format; this is at the discretion of all associations within the zone.
Following this period, the 12 highest-placed men’s and women’s teams will be selected from the six zones to progress to the Tupu League National Finals, which are run by BBNZ.
The Tupu League Women’s Finals will run from 21-23 June at Mercury BayPark, Tauranga.
The Tupu League Men’s Finals will run from 14-16 November at Edgar Centre, Dunedin.
BBNZ will award a TUPU League Men’s and Women’s National Cup to the winning teams, as well as determine the Allstar Five teams and MVPs.
Boucher says the timings of these leagues has been developed to allow players to use it as a pathway for their future basketball goals.
“The TUPU League Women’s competition has been structured to appeal to players who are home from college or other endeavours, giving them a platform to be seen and evaluated by team scouts ahead of the GJ Gardner Homes Tauihi season.
“And the Men’s League takes place after the conclusion of the Sal’s NBL season, acting as a platform for development players to get a chance to be seen ahead of future competitions.
“We want our athletes to use TUPU League as a tool to achieve their own personal basketball goals, and as a pathway they can use to help unlock their maximum potential in a sport they love.”