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Drew Macdonald

Diploma in Sport Management / Exercise Prescription Level 5

What attracted you to NZIS for your programme?

In my last year of school I faced a tough situation on what I should do. I wasn't too sure if I was going to be attending college in America first year out, or the following. This limited my choices then of what I could do. I didn't want to start a degree in New Zealand and then leave halfway through to go and study overseas. One of the teachers from high school suggested NZIS as an option. So I did a little bit of research. I attended the open day at the Wellington campus and made my decision to study there as soon as I stepped on the campus. Later in the year when I had news I would not be attending college in America for the year 2018 I decided that this would be the best step for me in terms of moving forward, getting experience, and improving my sport. Looking back on this first half of the year attending NZIS was one of the best decisions I made for me as a person and a basketball player.

What programme did you complete?

I am currently in my first year studying a Diploma in Sport Management / Exercise Prescription, Level 5.

How has your programme at NZIS helped you?

The programme has taught me so much as a person, and as an athlete aspiring to become a professional. It has definitely given me a professional mindset with everything to do with basketball and how to keep my head up on and off the court. It has also taught me a lot about myself that I didn't quite know or was still trying to discover. 

What are you doing now?

I’ve just returned from a tour to America with the NZ Maori under 19's Basketball team. The main purpose of the tour was attending a massive AAU tournament in Phoenix, Arizona. The AAU tournament was called NABI (one of the biggest with over 132 teams attending).

This was a massive chance for exposure to over 60+ college recruiters attending this tournament. We had a few hit-outs training's/warm-up matches in Los Angeles. Prior to NABI, I had the honour of captaining this side and throughout the tour. This was a huge honour for me - firstly not expecting it, and then it being named at our first team training in America took me by surprise and left me speechless. 

A few highlights from this tour were meeting the great A.C Green (ex NBA player ) he actually came and watched a few of our games and gave me some good advice moving forward with my basketball. And actually invited us to attend one of his training academy's next year. 

In terms of the tour coming back to New Zealand, we still have training as a squad, and potentially a national team travelling over to America again later in the year for a few series games. So, for now, I’m playing premier club basketball here in Wellington, training with coaches, and a few more tournaments for Wairarapa men's representative team. leading into next year. It's a waiting game really, as with college recruiters it’s a very slow process. 

Where are you working or training now? And what is your role?

I’m training of course, but currently, I am working at Mcdonald’s Masterton as a crew member - nothing special but at the end of the day it is money and for my current living status, I need the money. I look at it as a job as long as it pays the bills and allows me to get food to live off during the week then it does not bother to me. 

Did your programme at NZIS live up to your expectations?

Yes - to be honest, I was unsure of what to expect going into this diploma but it is all positives now and moving forward. 

How did you feel when you were coming to NZIS?

I remember the first day - walking into the class and it felt like everyone was trying to eye me up and figure out what sort of sports I did or played. I am quite a bubbly person and not very shy. So I made new friends almost instantly. I went around introducing myself to everyone and not too long after I found a group of friends. We have all got on well together and now six months through the year we are all one family. I imagined going into this year would be tough because of the new start to my journey, but so far it has been full of positives.

If sport is your passion, do you feel you can combine your new skills with your sport?

I am a very passionate sportsman, and extremely passionate about the sport I love - basketball. The skills I have gained this year from the high-performance academy with the different types of training has benefitted me immensely. Also, the classes I take have given me a better knowledge of exercises relating to sport. 

What is one life lesson you learned during your study and work?

I have quite a few strong personal morals that I applied to my sports from many great coaches throughout the years. One that I gained this year, and will stay with me for life was something an NZIS staff member said to me; "Never give up, always keep pushing forward". I made an oath to myself at the start of the year that this year was really going to be mine. I was going to keep pushing forward in both study and basketball, and when I heard those words it really just boosted my motivation and kept me looking forward to my set my own goals.