The Canterbury Rams have added Julian Washburn who has just come off playing for the Austin Spurs who won the NBA G League championship. Julian, a 6’8 forward, will bring international experience, along with fellow imports Winston Shepard and Xavier Thames, to a Rams team with a young local core of players. Julian played his college basketball at UTEP and was voted as Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in 2015. As well as playing for the Austin Spurs he played for Tigers Tubingen in the top German league. Julian will arrive in Christchurch on Thursday with the team heading to Palmerston North this weekend for the NBL Pre-season Blitz tournament.
Led by Tony Tolovae the local Rams players pride themselves on their defense, Julian Washburn like the other two imports prides himself on his defence and enables the Rams to put a team out there that will scrap and claw and challenge teams on the defensive end to overcome their youth.
“We are excited about our local core with Cantabrian Taylor Britt back from US College and Tony Tolovae, we feel as though Julian Washburn compliments our local players and we are looking forward to building a defensive culture that plays with determination and relentlessness every game,” stated Rams General Manager, Caleb Harrison.
The Rams open the season with 2 straight home games at Cowles Stadium. The Super City Rangers come into town on the 27th April and the Southland Sharks are here on 4th May. Both teams have seasoned veterans with the Super City Rangers headlined with former Tall Blacks players Lindsey Tait and Dillon Boucher and well-known coach Jeff Green. The Southland Sharks are loaded with New Zealand Breakers player from the Australian National Basketball League including Alex Pledger, Derone Raukawa, James Hunter and Reuben Te Rangi. These games will be a good chance to see how the young Rams will fare against some of the more experienced teams in the 2018 National Basketball League. The other highlight of the Rams season will be 8th June, Rams vs Saints at Horncastle Arena. This will be the first Rams game played at Horncastle Arena since 2008.
“We will be evaluating our season based on our effort and selflessness as a team. We will have a team that will make the extra pass, give tremendous defensive effort for each other and play in such a way that reflects the people of our City and region”, stated Rams Coach Mark Dickel.
Rams have announced individual ticket sales via their website www.rams.org.nz. Season Memberships, Mini-Season Memberships and individual tickets now available. All Rams members including new Rams imports Xavier Thames, Winston Shepard & Julian Washburn will be at the Rams Camp going on next week. A limited number of spots are available for next weeks Rams camp by going to – www.rams.org.nz/development/
The Rams have a strong basketball tradition with the team winning NBL Championships in 1986, 1989, 1990 & 1992. The Rams were not part of the National Basketball League from 2008 – 2014 due to financial restraints. The team returned in 2014 due to the efforts of Andrew & Nicky Harrison. Through the various community programmes and coaching the Rams hope to support the rebuild of Christchurch City and the greater Canterbury Region.
2018 Rams Team
Max de Geest
Coach: Mark Dickel
Assistant Coaches: Ben Sheat & Piet Van Hasselt
Strength & Conditioning: Andrew Maclennan
Physio: Lidia Belles