Tylor Ongwae only started playing basketball at the age of 15 at Friends School Kamusinga in Western Kenya, but it's taken him from Kenya to the States, to Sweden and now to Taranaki. 

"I played football when I was young, but when I reached high school my brother played basketball and I followed him. I played well in high school in Kenya and one of the coaches from the States saw me play and hooked me up with a college."

Basketball seemed to agree with him as he was named the most valuable player in Kenya in 2009 and became Friends School Kamusinga's all-time leader in scoring as he led the team to three national titles.

For a young man from Kenya, his introduction to the American game was an eye opener and made him determined to improve.

"Basketball in the States is more physical than in Kenya. The guys are faster so it took me time to get adjusted, but I stayed in the gym, worked on my game, gained more weight and with time I started getting used to it.

"It was a good experience over there. When we went there, the program wasn't doing well, and after some time we starting winning a lot of games and it was fun."

Now, after a successful stint with Swedish side Sodertalje in 2016, the 25-year-old swingman was rearing to take the court as one of two imports for the Taranaki Mountain Airs for the upcoming National Basketball League season

"I really don't know a lot about this league, but I heard it's more physical," Ongwae admitted.

He was no stranger to playing against physical opponents though, having spent the last year playing for Sodertalje in the Euro Cup and Champions League against top European teams.

Between the time he landed in the States in 2012 to now, Ongwae said his game had improved everywhere he went and believed his "jack of all trades" approach to the game would help the Mountain Airs reach a top four finish at the end fo the regular season.

"My three-point shot has really improved, I've become a stronger, can finish at the rim and also overall just reading the game. When I went first in the States I was kind of young and played fast, but now just reading the plays and reading how defence plays all that.

"I can score, I can rebound, I can defend. When I came here the coach told me the aim was to finish in the top four. It takes time, but I think with time we're just going to improve, get better and win games."

After arriving in New Zealand on Thursday, Ongwae had one day to absorb as much as he could from the Mountain Airs systems before taking to the court for the side in the Northern Blitz preseason tournament in New Plymouth on Saturday.

In the first match against the Hawke's Bay Hawks, he scored 22 points and matched it with another 20 against the Super City Rangers, also pulling down six rebounds in the match. 

"He picked his rebounding up in the second game which is going to be a big thing for us," Mountain Airs coach Trent Adam said.

"And once he gets his legs back he'll probably shoot the ball a little bit better and be a little bit better at getting to the rim."

-- Stuff.co.nz

Comment

The Washington Wizards think it is unlikely that Kevin Durant will sign with them in free agency, according to the ESPN.

Comment

Cleveland Cavaliers have been handed a major boost ahead of next season with the news that LeBron James intends to remain with the franchise.

Comment

The first leg of the Kenya Basketball Federation season concludes in the next few weeks, and we still know nothing about this league.

Comment

The NBA is making a new play for fans in Africa by splitting with the continent's biggest sports broadcaster and teaming up with a Zimbabwean telecommunications entrepreneur who started his first business with $75, yes, Econet owner Strive Masiyiwa.

Comment

Coast region Girls Basketball champions Kaya Tiwi made a statement of intent at the ongoing National Secondary School Games after they booked a final slot by flooring tournament favorites Loreto Girls 57-13 in the semi-final on Friday.

Comment

Nakuru Region outfit Kapenguria Boys will battle Coast champions Aga Khan in a match dubbed top of the Pool duel in Basketball discipline as the Brookside Dairy sponsored-Kenya Secondary School Sports Association (KSSSA) Term One games enters day three at Friends School Kamusinga in Bungoma county on Wednesday.

Comment

The Riara University men and women’s basketball teams, under the guidance of head coach Zedekiah Ong’ang’a, will be conducting open tryouts for walk-on spots this week at Nyayo Gymnasium.

Comment

Fred Awuor was re-elected to a new term as Chairman of the Kenya Basketball Referees Association (KBRA)  in an electoral process that was held at the Nyayo Basketball Gymnasium Saturday afternoon.

Comment

Storms (1-0) have been trying to assemble a team since the season began but only managed to come up with a lean team of 6 players in their 38-61 loss to defending champions USIU Flames (3-0).

Comment

Magadi Road Conference: Much fancied Riara University Bucks were on the receiving end last weekend. After beating UMMA 68-32, they lost 34-48 to hosts Catholic University of Eastern Africa and African Nazarene University 35-42.

Comment

The reigning champions USIU Flames are moving on, advancing to the Kenya Basketball Federation ladies finals with a thrilling 57-47 win over the Equity Bank Hawks in Game 5 Monday night. This game was always going to be about weathering the storm. The game started predictably in favor of the USIU, leading 18-15 at the end of the first quarter and 33-28 at the half-time break.

Comment

Equity Bank began their campaign for the 2015 Kenya Basketball Federation(KBF) Women Premier League title on a good note by winning their first game 64-57 against United States International University (USIU) at the weekend. The playoffs staged to the best of five series at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi saw Samba Mjomba rake in 22 points to propel the bankers to victory.

Comment

Kenya ended their Four Nations Challenge Tournament in South African at the Wembley Indoor Stadium, Johannesburg with a 87-64 loss to the host in the ranking matches. After overcoming  the host 74-65 earlier in their preliminary encounter, the results ensured the Carey Odhiambo coached side finished last in the five day event.

Comment

Upper Hill from Metropolitan will play Maseno School in the finals of schools Basketball to be played tomorrow at Mangu. Upper Hill overcame a rather weak challenge from the hosts in the semi finals winning the tie 74-29.

Comment

Upcoming Events

KS on Facebook