Canterbury Rams name American import duo
The Canterbury Rams' American import search has unearthed a player once on the NBA radar and a three-point specialist.
Centre Matt Rogers and shooting guard Glen Dandridge, who can also cover the small forward position, will lead the way for the Rams when they return to the National Basketball League in April.
Canterbury has not been represented in the league for the past three years after the Christchurch Cougars pulled out after the February 2011 earthquake. The Rams played in the league from 1982 to 2008 before folding because of financial problems.
Rams director Andrew Harrison said they recognised the duo early on as their preferred import targets through their coaching and scouting connections in the US and was delighted they had agreed to terms.
Missouri-native Rogers, 26, attended Southwest Baptist University, where he was known for his shot-blocking prowess and displayed strong mobility for his size.
The 2.11m tall Rogers signed a pre-season contract with NBA side, the Charlotte Bobcats in 2010, before being cut prior to the start of the season. He was also a member of the Indiana Pacers' summer league team in 2011.
Rogers has played in the NBA's development league for the Texas Legends, as well as overseas stints in Lebanon, Spain and the Philippines.
Dandridge, 28, played three seasons of college basketball at the University of Missouri, before transferring to Lambuth University in Tennessee for his senior year.
One of his finest attributes is his three-point shooting and his ability to guard multiple positions on the floor. Dandridge, who is 1.98m tall, is a well-travelled basketballer having played professionally in Belgium, Morocco, Argentina and Canada.
The Rams have already signed up Christchurch-based players, former Tall Black point guard, Jeremy Kench, swingman Ethan Rusbatch and back-up point guard Marty Davison.
Harrison believed their two latest additions would complement them nicely.
"It's difficult getting talented bigs into the New Zealand league and [Rogers] is a talented big. He can shoot as well. He'll be very good in the league."
"Dandridge is an incredibly flexible player and very hard working. He can play anywhere from [shooting guard to power forward] and can shoot."
Dandridge will arrive in Christchurch early next month, with Rogers landing at the beginning of March. The Rams' opening game is against the Wellington Saints at Cowles Stadium on April 6.
Both Dandridge and Rogers will be involved in the Canterbury regional development programme, which is being facilitated by Basketball New Zealand and the Canterbury Basketball Association. They will also coach in schools.
The organisation is still trying to land a high-profile Tall Black or Australian NBL signing to strengthen their side, which Harrison is optimistic about.