About The Canterbury Rams


The iconic Canterbury Rams are making a return to the Bartercard National Basketball League (NBL) in April 2014. This ends a three-year hiatus from top level men’s basketball in the region for the Canterbury basketball community following the earthquakes. The Canterbury Rams have a proud tradition as a foundation member of the league in 1982, winning four championships in the late 1980s and early 90s, and making nine finals, before the team disbanded following the 2008 season.  The Christchurch Cougars, backed by Andrew and Amy Gardiner, stepped into the fold for the 2009 and 2010 season making the semi-finals in the first year, but since the earthquakes the NBL has had no red and black representation.

The Canterbury Rams is an iconic brand that brings with it great memories for the Canterbury basketball and wider sporting community. The Rams name has kindly being made available by Leslie Watson, wife of former Rams owner and coach John Watson who passed away suddenly in 2012.  The revival of the Canterbury Rams will grow this iconic brand further and continue to be a legacy to the Watson family name and all those others who contributed to the success of the teams in the past.

The Canterbury Rams have been revived by a group of basketball enthusiasts with a combination of business and basketball acumen and experience who are committed to establishing a long-term and successful Canterbury Rams franchise that plays a significant role in increasing the numbers participating in community basketball, provides an aspirational development pathway for our talented Canterbury youngsters and contributes to community re-development in Christchurch.

The objectives of the Canterbury Rams involved are philanthropic in nature which is reflected in the fact that the sole beneficiary (limited partner) of the Canterbury Rams is a charitable trust established for the benefit of growing basketball and community development. The vision for the Canterbury Rams is:

  1. For the Rams to contribute significantly to the growth of basketball throughout the region with a highly performing and well run elite team greatly enhancing the profile and popularity of basketball.
  2. For the Rams players and coaches to directly benefit junior talent through the region.  Youngsters throughout the region will receive coaching from high quality coaches and their heroes, inspiring them to work towards their goals.  The support the Rams receive through physiotherapy, podiatry, strength & conditioning, nutrition and sport psychology will also be provided for young up and coming juniors in the region.  The Rams will provide a pathway, exposure and access for a significantly greater number of Canterbury players to play successfully at the higher levels.
  3. For the Rams to facilitate and provide development opportunities and a pathway for coaches throughout the region.  By supporting regular group coaching clinics and mentoring opportunities for the coaches in Canterbury, the sharing of knowledge will raise the standard of basketball.  Coaches will get access to the latest coaching methodology and through a common goal of developing basketball players, Canterbury’s coaching network will continue to grow.
  4. For the Rams to assist in providing a development pathway for young talented players who currently struggle to participate due to the extensive financial commitment required through the establishment of a Rams ‘scholarship’ system for promising players that puts a mentoring and financial support structure around them as required.
  5. For the Rams to make a major contribution to not only the basketball community but also to the Christchurch re-build through bringing an outstanding entertainment option to the city and contributing to the development of best practice basketball and community programmes.


The Canterbury Rams were a foundation member of the League in 1981
  • Murray McKay 1981 – 1983 / Assistant Darrell Todd
  • Darrell Todd1984 – 1985 / Assistant Gary Pettis
  • Garry Petis 1986 – 1988 / Assistant Bert Knops, Clyde Huntley
  • Keith Mair1989-1995 / Assistant Bert Knops
  • Bert Knops 1996-1999 / Assistant Phil Burns
  • Matt Ruscoe 2000-2001 / Assistant John Watson, Darren Gravly, David Harrison
  • John Watson 2002-2004 / Assistant Peter McAllister,– Dene Robinson
  • Peter McAllister 2004-2005 / Assistant Dene Robinson, Clinton Olsen, Jnr Assistants Tim Bennetts, Heath Miller
  • Chris Sparks 2006-2007 / Assistant Terry Brunel – Kenny Perkins
  • Bert Knops 2008-2009 / Assistant Terry Brunel
  • Dave Harrison 2014 / Assistant Tim Bennetts
  • Mark Dickel 2015-2018 / Assistant Caleb Harrison, Ben Sheat, Piet Van Hasselt
  • Mick Downer 2019-Present / Assistant Terry Brunel, Piet Van Hasselt, George Robinson
Canterbury ended up dominating the NBL in the next few years. From 1986-1994 the Rams played in seven grand finals winning four of them. This successful nine-year tenure was thanks to stand-out American players like Eddie Anderson, Angelo Hill and Clyde Huntley who were three of the league’s best ever early import players. Other players to play a key role during this era were local players such as Terry Brunel, Glen Denham, Gilbert Gordon, John Hill, John “Dutchie” Rademakers, Graham Timms, Chris Tupu, Ian Webb, youngster Ralph Lattimore and another star American import player Kenny Perkins (father of Boston Celtic Kendrick Perkins) who later played for the Nelson Giants. The architects of this success were coaches Gary Pettis who led the team from 1986–88 and Keith Mair who took over in 1989.
  • John Whelan
  • John Fairweather
  • John “Dutchie” Rademakers
  • Bert Knops
  • Dave Edmonds
  • Dave Usmar
  • Andy Bennett
  • John Hill
  • Gilbert Gordon
  • Ian Webb
  • Glen Denham
  • Graham Timms
  • Ralph Lattimore
  • Craig Farrant
  • Rob Hickey
  • Jeremy Kench
  • David Langrell
  • Andrew Gardiner
  • Ethan Rusbatch
  • Taylor Britt
  • Stan Hill
  • Steve Campbell
  • Chris Simpson
  • Chris Tupu
  • Paul Stigley
  • Colin Morris
  • Hugh Dimock
  • Henry Fox
  • Gerry McDougall
  • Laurie Hack

Keith Mair / Assistant Coach Bert Knops

NBL Championships:
(1986,1989,1990,1992, 2023)
NBL Playoff Appearances:
17 (1982,1984,1985,1986,1987,1989,1990,1992,1993,1994,1998,1999,2002,2016, 2017, 2019, 2023)
NBL Grand Final Appearances:
9 (1986,1987,1989,1990,1992,1993,1994,1999, 2023)
NBL Most Valuable Player:
John Whorton (2002), McKenzie Moore (2016)
MVP Non-Restricted Player:
John Rademakers (1984), Terrence Lewis (2002)
All-NBL First Team:
Clyde Huntley (1983), Clyde Huntley (1984), Clyde Huntley (1986), Clyde Huntley (1987), Eddie Anderson (1991), Terrence Lewis (2002), John Whorton (2002), Ryan Prillman (2005), McKenzie Moore (2016), Marcel Jones (2016, 2017), Winston Shepard (2018), Cameron Gliddon (2019), Tevin Brown (2023)
Most Outstanding Guard:
Clyde Huntley (1986), Eddie Anderson (1991), Terrence Lewis (2002), McKenzie Moore (2016), Cameron Gliddon (2019)
Most Outstanding Forward/Centre:
John Whorton (2002), Marcel Jones (2016, 2017)
Most Outstanding Non-Restricted Guard:
John Rademakers (1986), Chris Tupu (1994), Terrence Lewis (2002)
Most Outstanding Non-Restricted Forward/Centre:
Glen Denham (1990)
Leading Individual NBL Scorer:
John Whorton (2002), John Whorton (2003), Dennis Trammell (2006)
Leading Individual NBL Rebounder:
John Whorton (2002), John Whorton (2003)
Leading Assists :
Clyde Huntley (1984), Scott Stewart (1996), Carlo Varicchio (2002), Paul Henare (2009)
Coach of the Year:
John Watson (2002), Mick Downer (2019)
Youth Player of the Year
Arthur Trousdell (2000), Richie Edwards (2014), Max Darling (2018), Walter Brown (2023)

Best Defensive Player
Isaiah Wilkins (2019)