Marcel Jones in frame for Tall Blacks

NZ Newswire June 15, 2012, 12:10 pm

Los Angeles-born basketball forward Marcel Jones has officially joined the race for a place in the Tall Blacks squad after getting New Zealand citizenship.

The injury-hit Tall Blacks are preparing for a last-chance Olympic qualification tournament in Venezuela in early July, when the last three spots for London will be up for grabs.

Jones will now compete with veteran forward Casey Frank for the one naturalised spot available on the roster.

The pair could soon be joined by American guard Kevin Braswell, who is awaiting the result of his citizenship application.

Coach Nenad Vucinic, who won't have scorers Kirk Penney and Tom Abercrombie at his disposal because of injury, has postponed the naming of his squad from Friday to Monday.

That will allow former New Zealand Breaker Braswell more time to get a reply to his application.

Jones, 26, arrived in New Zealand three years ago to play for the Manawatu Jets.

However, he hasn't been able to stay in the country long enough to meet the usual citizenship criteria as he chased professional contracts, and his initial bid was declined.

"It was hard, because I've been here and I've left, but I've always come back," he said.

"I'm married to a Kiwi, I want to represent the country and I'm committed to the country, but I've also got to make a living."