American basketballer Glen Dandridge reckons he's got the best job in the world.
The 28-year-old has spent the past five years playing professionally in leagues in Canada, Argentina, Morocco and Belgium. He can now add a fifth country to his list after touching down in New Zealand, where he will play for the Canterbury Rams in their return to the national league this season.
Only a small percentage of college basketballers in the United States go on and make a living out of the sport.
Dandridge, who hails from Virginia, counts himself as one of the lucky few. He had enjoyed his first two weeks in Christchurch - despite the bleak weather over the past few days.
"It's great. That's my life right now and I enjoy it. I love to travel and experience new things. It fits for me," he said.
"I want to keep going until I can't run any more."
The 1.98m Dandridge will cover the shooting guard and small forward positions for the Rams.
He suited up for the Orlando Magic in the NBA's summer league this past off-season, taking the court with rising talent Victor Oladipo - who was the second pick in last year's NBA draft.
Dandridge spent three years at the University of Missouri from 2004-07, playing in the tough Big 12 conference against leading schools like Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
He struggled for consistent gametime at Missouri and finished college at Lambuth University in Tennessee, where he excelled for the team.
Dandridge was lured to the Rams through Caleb Harrison - who was assistant coach at Lambuth when he played for the side. Caleb's elder brother, Dave, is coach of the Rams.
Dandridge and fellow American import Matt Rogers will need to lead the way for a youthful Rams squad this season.
He was excited by the energy of the Rams' players in training and said they were willing to listen and learn.
Dave Harrison said Dandridge would be an influential figure this season with his experience and leadership. He could knock down the three point basket at a high percentage, but also drive to the hoop.
"His strength is his outside shot. The exciting thing he has is the ability to do things outside of just shooting the ball," Harrison said.
"We're looking at really encouraging him to get to the rim and use his skillset in our league."
Dandridge is known as a strong defender and can mark up against taller forwards.
Harrison said the Rams were unlikely to add any more players to the 13 they had in their squad.
They had attempted to sign a Tall Black international, but most players were keen to remain close to family in the North Island.
"We had talks and were hopeful. We don't think we left any stone unturned. We made every effort possible, which we could."
Canterbury begin their season against perennial title contenders Wellington at Christchurch's Cowles Stadium on April 6.
The team will play a pre-season doubleheader against Otago in Timaru [March 22] and Dunedin [March 23]. They also have a warmup game against Nelson on March 29 in Blenheim.
- Fairfax Media
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