Ethan Rusbatch Named in Tall Blacks

Canterbury’s Ethan Rusbatch has a chance to make his hometown debut for the National Team

Ethan Rusbatch (Checkers Club, and Cashmere High School old boy) has been named by Paul Henare in the MBO Tall Black’s 14-strong squad. From this group the active 12 will be named to face off against their first-placed Group C counterparts from Jordan (November 29, at Horncastle Arena), and will then play the nomadic Syrian team in Wellington on December 2.

The Christchurch game is extremely important for the MBO Tall Blacks, with the winner gaining the inside track for the best seed possible at the FIBA World Cup in 2019, and if the team can snag wins from both of these two games, they will have their place in the #FIBAWC officially booked.


Rusbatch reflected on the importance of this game being held in the Canterbury region for him – the last time the Tall Blacks played here was in 2004 (when they upset Australia 80-75).

“It’s always an honour representing New Zealand, and to have the opportunity to do it in front of friends and family for the first time makes it even more special. There is normally a Television separating them so I’m really looking forward to having a chance of doing that.

“It is really good knowing the coaches keep me in the the group even though I’m not currently with a (professional) team. Kind of trusting I’m putting the work in myself, which I have been. Mike Karena been rocking out with me too.

“As soon as I knew I was in the 14 I picked it up even more just to best prepare myself to have game lungs.

“Overall though I can’t wait. Motivation is never an issue. I love this game so it’s easy to keep it up!”


Head Coach Paul Henare praised the work that Ethan has been doing to work his way into the team:

“Ethan has been around the fringes and a big part of the Tall Blacks for a little while now

“He is one of the hardest guys in camp every time. This is a reward for him and that hard work over the last couple of years.”

Cantabrians Taylor Britt and Mike Karena have been named in the extended 24 man squad, and may see inclusion if illness or injury dictates.

Photos courtesy BBNZ and Ethan Rusbatch – you can follow him on instagram here


There are multiple ways for the Canterbury region to be involved with the big game:

  • discounted tickets for our members can be purchased here
  • FREE TICKETS for groups who want to be in the Noise Crews (see this article for info)
  • VIP Dinner with the MBO Tall Blacks on Wednesday 28 November

  • Corporate Packages are also available for the game


MBO Tall Blacks November/December 2018 :

• Tom Abercrombie. SKYCITY Breakers
• Finn Delany. Mike Pero Nelson Giants, SKYCITY Breakers
• Tyrell Harrison. Brisbane Bullets
• Shea Ili. Cigna Saints, SKYCITY Breakers
• Jarrod Kenny. Taylor Hawks, Cairns Taipans
• Rob Loe. Cairns Taipans
• Jordan Ngatai. Cigna Saints, SKYCITY Breakers
• Kruz Perrott-Hunt. Rosmini College, SKYCITY Breakers Development
• Alex Pledger. SIT Zerofees Southland Sharks, Melbourne United
• Ethan Rusbatch. Taylor Hawks
• Tohi Smith-Milner. Mike Pero Nelson Giants, Melbourne United
• Reuben Te Rangi. SIT Zerofees Southland Sharks, Brisbane Bullets
• Mika Vukona. Mike Pero Nelson Giants, Brisbane Bullets
• Corey Webster. SKYCITY Breakers
(This list will be shortened to 12 players at least 24 hours before the Jordan game).


Rest of the 24 Player Roster on standby in the case of injury or illness:

• Taylor Britt. The Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams
• Isaac Fotu. Ratiopharm Ulm
• Hyrum Harris. Taylor Hawks
• Michael Karena. The Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams
• Dom Kelman-Poto. Supercity Rangers, SKYCITY Breakers Development
• Taine Murray. Rosmini College
• Dion Prewster. Taylor Hawks
• Derone Raukawa. SIT Zerofees Southland Sharks
• Tom Vodanovich. SIT Zerofees Southland Sharks, SKYCITY Breakers Development• Tai Webster. Galatasaray


More information:

• Learn more about the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers (Asia Zone)
• Tall Blacks supporters gear can be purchased here
• Follow the Tall Blacks’ social media channels: @TallBlacks FacebookTwitterInstagram. Hashtags: #TuKaha #TallBlacks #FIBAWC #ThisIsMyHouse
• Tall Blacks website
 Read about Tū Kaha and the Tall Blacks culture
• The games will be broadcast live by the Host Broadcaster, Maori Television
• Watch the Tū Kaha webisode series on the Tall Blacks.


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