DURHAM, N.C. — Duke University women’s basketball associate head coach Hernando Planells has been selected as the head coach of the New Zealand Women’s U17 National Team.
“I am excited for the opportunity to be a part of Basketball New Zealand,” said Planells. “Looking forward to implementing many of the principles I've learned from Coach P and Duke!”
Planells was one of two coaches in the United States tabbed to New Zealand head coach positions as Aaron Fearne, an assistant coach at Charlotte, was tabbed the New Zealand Men’s U17 National Team head coach.
“We are extremely fortunate to attract these high-quality coaches to New Zealand for our junior national team program, commented Leonard King, who is the New Zealand High Performance Director. “Not only will we tap into the knowledge of these well credentialed, well-connected and experienced coaches, but more importantly they will also be fantastic mentors for a group of aspiring coaches who have been eager for more development opportunities. We are going to be strategic in our approach, and target some up-and-coming Kiwi coaches and place them beside Aaron and Hernando. The plan is to have those assistants taking that knowledge into their own head-coach roles down the track.”
An assistant coach and associate head coach at Duke since 2013, Planells has been influential on the recruiting trail and on the court with the Blue Devils. He has helped bring in the No. 1 class in the nation in 2015 and No. 2 class in 2014, while helping lead Duke to five NCAA Tournament appearances, the 2013 ACC Championship and to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2013.
This marks the first time two New Zealand age-group head coaches have been based overseas.
“Both Hernando and Aaron will be traveling to New Zealand to participate in our National Selection Camps and to attend some of the age-group national tournaments next year. And of course they will also be available to coach the teams at the respective FIBA events,” added King.
Planells first action with New Zealand on the court will be at the 2019 Oceania Championships in New Caledonia in August of 2019.
“I have followed New Zealand basketball for some time now,” commented Planells. “I attend FIBA events every year and keep track of players all over the world. I’ve always admired how hard the New Zealand teams play, their pride in their country, and how well they worked together as a team. Playing for your country is a huge honor and responsibility, and to be allowed this opportunity for New Zealand basketball is humbling and exciting.”
Planells has a very diverse background in basketball in both coaching and player development. He has coached at every level, including a stint with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League in 2010-11 and was the head coach of the Ryukyu Golden Kings in the BJ League in Japan. He served as scout for Marty Blake, who is the Director of Scouting for the NBA and helped develop Boston Celtics No. 1 draft pick Avery Bradley and NBA D-League Rookie of the Year DeShawn Sims.
“I’d like to thank Basketball New Zealand, Leonard King, Coach Guy Molloy and Coach Paul Henare, for giving me this amazing opportunity,” said Planells. “And many thanks to Duke and my head coach, Joanne P McCallie, and staff for supporting me in this exciting venture.”
Planells will remain the associate head coach at Duke and the Blue Devils will open the 2018-19 season at Northwestern Sunday, Nov. 11.