Hungry Jack's NBL
Breakers Add Rusbatch After Abercrombie Injury
SKY Sport Breakers captain Tom Abercrombie is out of action for up to three weeks having suffered a small tear his quadricep in training, a day out from the pre-season Blitz in Hobart.
Tall Blacks teammate Ethan Rusbatch, who was a standout for New Zealand at the recent FIBA World Cup in China, has been called into the roster as a Nominated Replacement Player.
That means there are now seven current Tall Blacks on the Breakers roster.
Under NBL rules, all teams can call in up to four players at any time during the season to cover for injuries.
The Shooting Guard will be available for the Breakers first NBL Blitz game against Melbourne United in Hobart.
The 27-year-old will remain with the roster for the remainder of the NBL season.
For the Cantabrian, it’s a dream come true to earn a spot on the roster.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment but when you get told it still comes as a surprise”, said Rusbatch.
“I had only just got off the plane having been in Auckland last night.
“Matt (Walsh) called me and said ‘Are you ready? Are you interested? Can you make moves?’ and I said ‘Yes’.
Rusbatch has been knocking on the door of NBL selection following a stellar NZ NBL season with the Hawkes Bay Hawks under Breakers assistant coach Zico Coronel - the team reaching the Grand Final where he scored 18 points, three rebounds and two assists.
He was named the league’s Most Improved Player with an average of 16.7 points and 9.4 assists over 19 games.
He got on court five times and averaged 10 minutes per game at the recently completed FIBA World Cup.
In the seven build-up games, he averaged 11.3 points and 2.0 rebounds while shooting 50 per cent from the floor and 42 beyond the arc.
Breakers owner Matt Walsh says it was a no-brainer bringing him into the Breakers when it was made known to him that Abercrombie was injured.
“We are really excited for Ethan to join the Breakers after an amazing New Zealand season and World Cup.
“I’m confident Tom Abercrombie will be fit for the start of the NBL season against the Kings on October 18, but we have six important pre-season games including NBA hit outs against the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder”.
This is Rusbatch’s second stint at the Breakers having played three games in the 2016/17 season after being a Development Player the previous year.
“It’s a chance for me to show I deserve to be in these leagues”, he said.
“The opportunity to play in the NBL again with this great roster means a lot”.