Canterbury Rams announce the signing of Mike Karena

The Canterbury Rams would like to announce the return of Mike Karena for the 2019 Sal’s NBL season.   This announcement comes as new Rams head coach, Mick Downer’s second player signing.  With returning Rams player Tony Tolovae announced last week.  Mike has played for both the Rams and the New Zealand national men’s team.

Mike Karena returns for his fourth season with the Rams.  In between Sal’s NBL seasons Mike has been playing in the LEB Silver and LEB Gold Leagues in Spain.  This year Mike has spent the off-season in New Zealand training and preparing his body for the 2019 New Zealand season.  Karena is coming off a season where he averaged 11 points and 5 rebounds.  He played his University basketball at Wright State in the US College season before returning to the Rams.  Mike grew up in Rangiora, North Canterbury and played in high school at Nelson Boys College.  Mike was part of the New Zealand Select tour who toured China last year and is part of the wider Tall Blacks Squad.

“It’s exciting to have Mike return to the Rams this season as the anchor of our club.  Successful teams often feature a dominant post presence and with Mike we have this focal point.  He is highly motivated this preseason to come in a little leaner and is also honing his skills as he works towards taking his career that next step.  I’m really excited about helping Mike continue to improve his game.  Although he has been playing many years he is just entering his prime as a professional and the best is yet to come,” stated Rams coach, Mick Downer.

Mike is very involved with the community coaching with the Rams In-Schools & Mentoring programme.  Most recently Mike was a guest coach at the Rams & Wildcats camp and at the local Wharenui Gators camp.

The Rams are coming off a season in which 6,000 attended the Rams vs Saints game at Horncastle Arena which was a Sals NBL Record Crowd.  The team is looking forward to taking 2 games to Horncastle Arena in 2019.  Stay tuned regarding team announcements including season membership sales being released on 4th February.

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About the Canterbury Rams-

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.

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