Only a few short months ago the idea of playing basketball in Dubbo was a million miles from Adam Ward’s mind.
A former National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 player, Ward went undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft and it wasn’t long after that he decided to spend some time away from the game.
He planned to make a move to China and teach English but after that didn’t work out he spent some time visiting friends in Sydney.
And as fate would have it, Ward met former Dubbo player Steve Hall while there.
Hall is coming back to play in Dubbo this season to link up with Bart Sykes, who has come on-board as coach, and he managed to talk the laid-back Ward into joining the Rams as well.
I threw my shoes away before I got on the plane and everything. I didn’t plan on this happening.Rams import Adam Ward
“We (Hall and I) got talking and he asked me if I still play ball and I showed him my highlights video and it just happened from there,” Ward said.
“I’d quit basketball. I threw my shoes away before I got on the plane and everything. I didn’t plan on this happening.
“I’m excited to play again.”
Not since Eddie Whitmore led the Rams to a maiden title win in 1993 has Dubbo possessed an overseas player with such high credentials.
NCAA Division 1 basketball is the highest collegiate level possible and that was where Ward played during his two seasons with Nicholls State in Louisiana.
At 195cm, or six foot five, Ward will give the Rams some much needed height while his also possess plenty of speed around the court.
Sykes is keen to see the new import make an impact on both ends of the court and that’s what Ward wants to do as well.
“Energy. Defensively or offensively, I don’t go out with a real purpose to do this or that,” he said.
“It’s about doing whatever you can, as hard as you can for as long as you can. Whether that’s points, or blocks or rebounds. It’s just about energy.”
Ward’s arrival boosts a Rams side which is looking to build on the success brought on by fellow American Conrad Etchi last season.
Etchi, who won’t be back in 2018, brought in some of the best crowds the Woolshed had seen in years due to his athleticism while he also did a huge amount to help junior development in Dubbo.
“I always enjoy working with kids the most in basketball,” he said.
“It’s one of those fun, rewarding times and you get to have fun.
“Nothing is really that serious. I just want to play and have fun.”
The new Waratah State League season starts on March 10 with the Rams hosting the Canberra Gunners.
The bulk of last year’s squad will be back again but there will be no Etchi and Dan Medway and Benjamin Wilkin are also no certainties to return.
Those losses are offset by the addition of Ward while Hall is back and young gun Will Howell has also returned to the side.
The Rams take on Canberra from 5pm on March 10.