Armstrong heads back down under to join Taipans

THE NBL free agency period continues to turn heads, with the Cairns Taipans announcing the signing of one of the best Aussie prospects to spend time in the NCAAM.

Guard Taran Armstrong has spent the last two seasons developing his craft with the California Baptist Lancers in the college basketball system, and emerged as one of the best passers at collegiate level.

Although he still had the option to stay in the NCAAM and had some offers from well-known schools, Armstrong chose to forego his eligibility to remain in the system and instead signed a two-year deal with the Taipans.

A spot opened up on the Cairns roster after Shannon Scott made the move south to join the Brisbane Bullets after his first season with the Taipans. Instead, the northernmost side in the NBL have added some promising young talent.

Armstrong has drawn comparisons to fellow Aussie Josh Giddey, given his magnificent court vision and outstanding passing ability. He can find the smallest of holes in the defence and make pinpoint passes to set up scoring for his teammates.

The Burnie native would have likely been weighing up a move back to his home state to join the Tasmania JackJumpers, especially after they offered his brother Tre Armstrong a contract recently as well. However, the recent rise of the Taipans would have been extremely appealing, with the older of the brothers set to slot nicely into the lineup.

During his sophomore season, Armstrong posted numbers of 11.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and five assists, and looked extremely comfortable as a starter for the Lancers. How many minutes he receives remains to be seen, but Cairns looms as a strong landing spot for a player of his talent.

As Giddey’s did, Armstrong’s passing ability should translate well to the NBL, and the likes of Sam Waardenberg and Tahjere McCall will benefit from his ability to put his teammates in scoring positions.

At six-foot-five, the guard will be one of the more difficult backcourt matchups in the competition, and it could cause defences to shuffle the magnets in order to curb his influence. Across his 56 games at NCAAM level, Armstrong was excellent at keeping the offence moving with his passing, while still being able to knock down shots himself.

He should be a perfect fit for Cairns at NBL level, and looks destined to put his fingerprints on the competition in the coming years.

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