Rams put faith in homegrown talent for NBL season

Jack Exeter. Photo: Getty Images
Jack Exeter. Photo: Getty Images
While imported talent and US college experience is often sought after in the NBL, the Canterbury Rams are also relying on a homegrown talent to produce in this season’s roster.

Jack Exeter and fellow Rangiora High School product Ben Hall are the latest re-signings for head coach Mick Downer’s squad for a campaign which opens at the Wellington Saints on April 30.

Exeter, 20, joined the Rams after completing secondary school but was sidelined by injury in 2019.

He bounced back to play an important role in the Covid-19 inspired NBL Showdown last year after the standard competition was abbreviated.

“Jack is a star on the rise. His commitment and professionalism towards getting better and working on his game mentally, athletically and his basketball skill package is first class,” Downer said.

“He was an important piece last year. He showed his potential in the Showdown and he’ll continue to develop across all areas.”

A Mainland Eagles academy graduate, Exeter opted to continue his education at the University of Canterbury rather than venture abroad.

“I’m a bit of a different story to a lot of kids as I never made a national age group team, nor did I pursue heading over to the US as I wanted to stay closer to home to study and be a part of the Rams,” he told newzealandhoops.com

Exeter did tour Australia with the academy, turning out against the NBA Global Academy and Brisbane Bullets academy team, before injury derailed his 2019 season.

Ideally Exeter will head across the Tasman in the future.

“Hopefully one day I’ll get a chance at earning an Australian NBL development spot in the future,” he said.

Ben Hall. Photo: Lincoln University
Ben Hall. Photo: Lincoln University
A member of the championship-winning Canterbury under-23 team, Hall also opted to study close to home after earning a sports scholarship to study and play at Lincoln University.

The guard debuted for the Rams alongside Exeter last year and has had an impressive lead into the season.

“After a ton of hard work in the off-season we are really excited about what Hally brings to our group this season. He could become a really elite shooter,” Downer said.

“He’s gained strength in the weight room and on court he thrives within our style of play, scoring off cuts, boards, in transition and off screening actions.”

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