2022 NZNBL preview: Canterbury Rams

AFTER not quite finding the consistency they would have liked in the 2021 New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) season, the Canterbury Rams are looking to improve that in 2022. A massive amount of list changes sees the Rams have a fresh look for the upcoming year, with some big name recruits to assist with the loss of some key departures.


FRESH FACES: Josh Book, Jackson Stent, Hunter Adam, Kaia Isaac, Mike Karena, Nic Book, Sunday Dech, Aiden Tonge, Junior De Young, Kalib Mullins
KEY DEPARTURES: Deshon Taylor, EJ Singler, Jack Salt, Quintin Bailey, Alex Talma

The Rams head into 2022 without three of their key players, but only really two of them played substantial time in 2021. Jack Salt (nine games) struggled with injury, whilst Deshon Taylor and EJ Singler will be important players who need replacing. With depth that showed it could stand up such as Quintin Bailey – a very handy three-point shooter – and Alex Talma also leaving, there were plenty of opportunities for some heavy recruitment.

A couple of big names that came into the lineup are Sunday Dech and Mike Karena who both have plenty of experience at high level basketball. Karena averaged 17.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists a couple of seasons ago with the Nelson Giants and would be a big inclusion for the Rams, whilst Dech played one NZNBL season back in 2018-19 with the Wellington Saints, but has since improved and will be a crucial player for Canterbury coming off a 12.3-point, 4.2-rebound and 2.3-assist season with the 36ers in the Australian NBL. They are among 10 new faces in the squad, providing some great depth as well as young talent coming through.


Taylor Britt
Max Darling
Joe Cook-Green
Walter Brown
Josh Book
Jackson Stent
Hunter Adam
Kaia Isaac
Mike Karena
Nic Book
Sunday Dech (T2)
Sam Smith
Aiden Tonge
Junior De Young
Zachary Hannen
Kalib Mullins


Canterbury Rams undoubtedly have an incredibly stacked starting five. Whilst Karena and Dech provide the size, the Rams have retained Max Darling who averaged 12.0 points and 5.4 rebounds in seven games last season. Similarly, Taylor Britt who missed last season will be a huge addition following further time in the Australian NBL, and the likes of Joe Cook-Green (eight games) and Sam Smith will be additional talents lining up for in the red and black jersey.

In 2022, the Rams just need to find the consistency they could not manage last year. They never won more than two consecutive games, so struggled to get the continuity in order to make finals. They did end up finishing a respectable fifth and marginally missing out on finals, something one would expect them to change this year. They have the top-end talent and even the depth looks nice, so the Rams are a team you would put in the contenders bracket.


R1 vs. Nuggets
R2 vs. Tuatara
R3 @ Jets | @ Airs
R4 @ Giants | @ Saints
R5 vs. Hawks
R6 vs. Saints
R7 vs. Bulls
R8 vs. Jets
R9 @ Nuggets | @ Sharks
R10 @ Bulls
R11 @ Tuatara
R12 vs. Airs
R13 vs. Giants
R14 vs. Sharks
R15 @ Hawks

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