2020 Canterbury Rams season preview: Team effort required after star big man goes down

A POST-DRAFT injury to first round selection and premier New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) big man, Jack Salt has the Canterbury Rams having to rethink their 2020 Sal’s NBL Showdown plans. Reports came through on Wednesday via Salt’s management on social media that Salt had injured his knee during training and would miss a couple of months, thus ruling him out of the upcoming season.

Having returned from a successful college title over in the United States with Virginia, Salt was selected with pick five in last week’s Player Draft and looked to be the big man the Rams could centre an offence around. Now, they will look to their strong depth and other talented players to step up in the modified season.

Unlike many other teams, the Rams had previously looked to local talent to run out on the court in the NZNBL, and picked up a heap of players who had previously donned the red and black, or had come through the Mainland Eagles Academy Athletes program.

CANTERBURY RAMS GREATER ROLES FOR DUO:

Taylor Britt

A 23-year-old point guard who was a member of the title-winning Perth Wildcats side in the Australian NBL last season, he returns to the NZNBL with greater experience and confidence to have an impact on the court. His role as a development player with the Wildcats will no doubt hold him in good stead when he will be required to step up and shoulder more of the load in the absence of Salt. Last season he rotated on to average 13.4 minutes per game, putting up numbers of 5.0 points, 1.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game, but expect those minutes to explode in 2020 with Britt worthy of a second round pick this time around.

Joe Cook-Green

Providing a double threat from the guards spot alongside Britt, Cook-Green is a former Ram himself before he headed off to play college basketball in Texas. In an article on the club’s website earlier this year when Cook-Green returned to the club, head coach Mick Downer said he was excited to see what the talented up and comer could bring to the side after plying his trade over in the United States.

CANTERBURY RAMS HEAD COACH MICK DOWNER ON JOE COOK-GREEN RETURNING TO THE NZNBL:

“We are really excited about having Joe return to the Rams after finishing his college career in the states. Joe has a positively infectious nature, he’s upbeat, tenacious and hard working. It’s really exciting to have another former Eagles player return and commit to the Rams. We are really looking forward to supporting Joe’s transition into the professional game, he has great capacity to play at a really elite level of basketball.”

Canterbury Bulls begin their 2020 Sal’s NBL Showdown campaign against Auckland Huskies on opening night at 7.30pm, followed by taking on Franklin Bulls on Thursday and Taranaki Mountainairs on Saturday, with 48-hour breaks between each game.

2020 SAL’S NBL TARANAKI MOUNTAINAIRS INFORMATION:

FULL LIST:

Jack Salt**
Taylor Britt
Joe Cook-Green
Alex Talma
Sam Smith
Toby Gilloly
Jack Exeter
Tom Cowie
Thomas Webley
Mac Stodart
Ben Carlile-Smith
Mason Whittaker

**injured

FIXTURE:

Tuesday June 23 vs Huskies @ 7:30pm
Thursday June 25 vs Bulls @ 7:30pm
Saturday June 27 vs Airs @ 7:30pm
Wednesday July 1 vs Jets @ 7:30pm
Thursday July 2 vs Giants @ 7:30pm
Saturday July 4 vs Nuggets @ 7:30pm
Wednesday July 8 vs Bulls @ 7:30pm
Thursday July 9 vs Huskies @ 7:30pm
Saturday July 11 vs Airs @ 7:30pm
Wednesday July 15 vs Jets @ 5:30pm
Thursday July 16 vs Nuggets @ 7:30pm
Saturday July 18 vs Giants @ 5:30pm
Wednesday July 22 vs Huskies @ 7:30pm
Saturday July 25 vs Bulls @ 3:30pm

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