Paora Winitana

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Paora Winitana
Medal record
Men's Basketball
Competitor for  New Zealand
Commonwealth Games
Silver 2006 Melbourne Team Competition

Paora Ramiha Winitana (born 6 December 1976 in Hastings, New Zealand) is a New Zealand professional basketball player who currently plays for the Hawke's Bay Hawks of the NZNBL. He was ordained as a Mormon bishop in 2005 and chooses not to play basketball on Sundays. He is a 1.96 m shooting guard.

He attended Hastings Boys High school and played for the school A1 team from 1993 to 1994. In 1994 he scored a NZ high record for points scored in a single game vs Central Hawke's Bay where he scored 96 points. In 1995 he attended the Church College of New Zealand and helped his team defeat Palmerston North Boys High in the NZ National secondary school boys final. He was selected for the tournament team, and was chosen to play as one of the top ten high school players in the country vs the countries top ten 2nd division players, his team lost the match but he was awarded the game MVP. He was awarded the Rookie of the Year title in his debut year in the New Zealand NBL in 1996. In preparation for the World Championship under 23 tournament in 1997 he led the NZ Team in scoring but broke his foot six weeks prior to competition. He was given several opportunities to play 1st division college basketball ball in America. Head Coach Dick Bennett personally offered him a full scholarship to attend the University of Wisconsin, but he decided to serve a 2 year mission for his church in the Australia Sydney North Mission between 1999 and 2001. He returned to basketball in 2002 and was selected for the NZ Tall Blacks team the created history by placing 4th at the 2002 World Championships for Men held in Indianapolis. He captained the Hawke's Bay Hawks to a historic win achieving the franchises very first New Zealand NBL title in 2006, and in the same year he was awarded NZ best guard, NZ All-Star five, NZ MVP and also the Grand finals MVP.

He appeared in the 2004 Summer Olympics at Athens, and also achieved a silver medal as part of the Tall Blacks at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. He was awarded the NZ MVP again in 2007 and helped Hawkes Bay reach the grand finals for the third year in a row. He has played in the ANBL with the Adelaide 36ers and the New Zealand Breakers from 2003 to 2009.

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