Max Darling and Tyler Marsh are two of the most promising players in Nelson basketball, but have had different paths to their success.
Tyler, from Waimea College, is the youngest person to play in the National Basketball League, when he got court time for the Nelson Giants last year at the age of 14.
It wasn’t until Max was 12 that he even picked up a basketball.
His mum convinced him to try out for the Tasman under-13 boys team.
Just a few short years later, the Nelson College pupil has played for New Zealand at under-17 level in Australia and he was named tournament MVP.
Not bad for someone who’s barely picked up a basketball before trialling for an age group team.
Tyler says he got into the game at age nine when his cousin and former Otago Nuggets basketballer Ethan Carruthers gave him a basketball.
The duo will be key components of Tasman’s national under-17 campaign this week on the North Shore.
Both have played together in Tasman teams, with current Giants captain Sam Dempster as their coach for a few years.
With Max standing 6ft 4 and Tyler 6ft 3, they offer the size Tasman teams traditionally lack.
Max says he knows he has to perform and believes he will.
“There’s expectation on me and that brings pressure, but I think I play my best like that.”
Tyler will play an important leadership role. “We know we can win the tournament,” he says.
“We just have to play with confidence and everyone has to step up.”
Both say they’d love to play in the NBA but believed getting paid to play the game was a big enough aspiration for now.