Ethan Rusbatch

Press Release: Hawks sign Ethan Rusbatch

The Taylor Hawks are pleased to announce the signing of Tall Black wing Ethan Rusbatch for the 2018 National Basketball League season.

The 25 year old Rusbatch has been a Tall Black squad member since 2015 when he was selected in the squad for the Oceania qualifying series against Australia. He made his on court debut for the Tall Blacks at the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon. He previously represented New Zealand in a number of age group teams including the Junior Tall Blacks.

The product of Cashmere High in Christchurch played one season at Lincoln Trail Community College in Illinois before commencing his professional career. Rusbatch has played for a number of professional teams in his young career. In 2012 he played for the Southland Sharks, before going on to play for the Taranaki Mountain Airs (2013), and Canterbury Rams, where he spent the last four years. In 2017 he averaged 12.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game for the Rams, who reached the semi-finals.

Rusbatch was a development player for the New Zealand Breakers in the Australian NBL for the 2016-17 season.

This will be Rusbatch’s first season with the Taylor Hawks. Taylor Hawks’ Head Coach Zico Coronel is excited about the prospect of working with Rusbatch. “Ethan is exactly the type of person we want as a part of our Hawks Whanau. He is a goal driven young man who works hard in the pursuit of those goals. He is extremely committed to breaking into the Australian NBL or another international league and solidifying a regular place in the Tall Blacks. He has studied the game intensively and developed a high basketball IQ. His shooting ability is well established at NBL level. We envisage Ethan going from strength to strength with us in the Hawke’s Bay!”

Rusbatch further solidifies an encouraging Kiwi core for the Taylor Hawks. Previously announced signings include Tall Black and Perth Wildcats point guard Jarrod Kenny, long term Tall Black Everard Bartlett, Dion Prewster – currently enjoying a successful season in Germany, newly minted Tall Black squad member and Breakers development player Mitch Newton and NZ Maori international representative Hyrum Harris, formerly of the Supercity Rangers. Bay stalwart Kareem Johnson will also be back in 2018. He and Bartlett remain from the 2006 Hawks that won the franchise’s first championship.

The Taylor Hawks are in the process of signing high level imports to supplement the Kiwi core. An impressive group of development players is also coming to fruition.

In addition, Taylor Hawks’ Chairman Keith Price, who is also a Napier City councillor, has been elected by the teams to the NBL Board. This was a heavily contested position with some illustrious candidates so it is a reflection of Price’s tremendous work rebuilding the Taylor Hawks’ standing that he was elected.

The Taylor Hawks will open their season at home at Pettigrew Green Arena on April 26th versus the Southland Sharks.

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