After almost a decade playing overseas, Tall Fern Tera Reed’s sacrifices are paying off, the basketballer in top form and receiving offers from around the globe.
Tera Reed’s sacrifices for her basketball dream started at a young age.
At just 14, Reed moved away from her close-knit family to the United States to develop her basketball skills.
And the move has paid off, the 24-year-old now able to play basketball full-time, and receiving offers from multiple WNBL teams this season.
“I am a big family person, especially since being in college and playing overseas, it’s tough to get quality time back home,” Reed says.
The 1.82m player has been around the game her whole life, her mum Justine playing for the Tall Ferns in 1999 and now coaching the NZ women’s 3×3 team.
Tera grew up on the sidelines of her mum’s matches, watching the likes of Jody Cameron and Leanne Walker play – who are now her coaches at the Northern Kāhu in the Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa league.
After almost 10 years overseas, Reed joined the Kāhu last season, and returned to play for them this season. They’re sitting at the top of the ladder, with just two more weeks until the finals series.
Reed is playing alongside a few of her Tall Ferns teammates and says it’s beneficial for the growth of women’s basketball in New Zealand.
“Coming off the Asia Cup campaign for us, there’s just been really good chemistry with the girls, playing with Nina [Penina Davidson] at the moment and Krystal [Leger-Walker], and Tahlia’s [Tupaea] been in and out,” she says of her Kāhu teammates.
“Having a core of us playing together has been awesome.”
Reed is featured in various leaderboards in the competition, having the best 3-point accuracy across all players. She’s shooting threes at an average of 50 percent, with most of the others in the top 10 in the 30 percent range.
“My three point shot has improved so much over the last year, so just having confidence in that really opens my game up and makes me more versatile,” she says.
This is the second season of Tauihi, and Reed hopes it will continue to grow and attract top players.
“It’s been really good, I’m super excited that the league is improving, or has improved since last year, and excited for the future and hope it just keeps getting better,” she says.
“I’m always happy to play with my teammates and girls I’ve grown up with and also just being under Jody in such a good organisation.”
Once the Tauihi season finishes, Reed will head across the ditch to play for the Melbourne Boomers in Australia’s WNBL competition. They were one of a handful of teams who reached out after seeing Reed’s performance for the Tall Ferns at the Asia Cup.
“I came off a strong season, I played my first year professionally in Finland last year,” explains Reed.
“So just going over there, getting my confidence up and then just really performing well at Asia Cup, it brought on so many opportunities for me, which was very eye-opening.”
Reed will play alongside Tall Ferns teammate Davidson, and former WNBA players as well.
“Even just going against them every day at practice, it’s going to make me better. So I’m just really keen to start learning and making a name for myself over there as well,” Reed says.
“I’m super excited, the WNBL has also been a goal of mine, so just having the opportunity so early on in my career is just so cool, I was a bit shocked at first. I’m just so excited to learn off everyone, it’s such a good league and competition.”
Being able to focus just on basketball has been a game-changer for Reed, who has a Masters degree in human resources.
She did four years of undergraduate study at Virginia Commonwealth University towards a business degree with a concentration in entrepreneurship before studying towards her masters at the University of Southern California.
Reed hopes to use her degree alongside her basketball knowledge to go back to America and coach college basketball.
“The stuff regarding managing people, human resources, is kind of similar to managing teams and the business side of things, so I thought that would be really helpful to use for that career,” she says.
Starting her Tall Ferns journey while she was still studying was difficult, especially being overseas, an issue for a few of the squad.
“Now, just being done with school and fully committing to the programme has been awesome,” Reed explains.
Reed (bottom right) and some of her Kāhu teammates in the Tall Ferns.
Guy Molloy has been the head coach of the Tall Ferns since 2018, and Reed believes the team are just starting to reach their full potential under him.
“Having Guy has been awesome for us. It’s taken us a long time to adjust our style of play to our advantage for our players and our girls here in New Zealand,” she says.
Reed says Molloy has always had confidence in the team, and now the team is fully immersed in his game plan they can see the results reflecting on the hard work put in.
“It’s been a tough few years but I’m just happy and proud of us, the girls, the coaching staff and a lot more support behind us now that we’re actually getting it done,” she says.
The Tall Ferns finished fourth at the Asia Cup in July, giving them the chance to attend an Olympic qualifier event – “I’m so sure we’ll make it,” Reed says.
A new wave of younger players entering the team has given a new energy to the side.
“Our team was quite young for this campaign, so it’s been really interesting just seeing the difference and more committed younger girls actually wanting to win and be a part of it,” Reed says.
“It’s been different, getting used to learning their style of play and stuff, considering when I was young, it was kind of the same people for a while, so it’s been good.
“Everyone got along really well off the court, and the chemistry and gel off the court is really what pushed us to get there.”
She has a fierce game face on-court, but off-court Reed is friendly and easy to talk to, which helps new faces in a team.
“I’m super competitive, but I’m really goofy, I’m always dancing and always singing and stuff, just trying to get the vibes up,” she describes.
“Everyone knows they can lean on me and just expect me to show up every time, when it’s game time.
“I love all the teams this year so far, Tall Ferns has been awesome, so has Kāhu, I’m just on a bit of a high at the moment, so just trying to be grateful and make the most of it.”
*Tauihi Aotearoa continues this weekend, with two rounds left until the finals series. The Northern Kāhu take on the Southern Hoiho on Sunday at 6pm on Sky Sport Select.