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Taipans secure Taran Armstrong

17 May
3 mins read

The CQUniversity Cairns Taipans officially welcome Taran Armstrong to the team, securing the young Tasmanian point guard from California Baptist University where he has made a name for himself as the best passer in the college system.

Armstrong was touted as a top recruit when he entered the NCAA transfer portal earlier this year, but the 21-year-old has instead chosen to sign with Cairns on a two-year contract, ahead of declaring for the NBA Draft.

Taipans Head Coach Adam Forde said that securing Armstrong over big US colleges and other NBL clubs was significant.

“It’s exciting that Taran has committed to Cairns – it speaks volumes of our program. We made some aggressive moves this off-season just on the rumour that he might be interested in going pro, and so I’m obviously thrilled to see it pay off,” he said.

“There aren’t too many 21-year-old, 6’6” Australian point guards with his credentials floating around in free agency. He has such a level of polish and maturity to his game that is beyond his years. You don’t warrant the type of NBA attention he does without having an enormous ceiling."

In his first year at CBU, Armstrong became the first player to be named Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Freshman of the Year in the program’s Division I history.

He averaged 10.5 points, 6.3 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game, and broke a program record with 15 assists in a game against North Dakota.

As a sophomore, he registered 11.3 points, 4.5 boards and 5.0 dimes, while becoming the sixth fastest active player to reach 300 career assists.

In both years at CBU, Armstrong led the WAC in assists per game.

“His composure on the floor really comes from the education and upbringing he has had in basketball,” said Forde.

“He’s from a basketball family and has a great family support network around him. Taran’s background at the Centre of Excellence, NBA Global Academy, representing Australia and D1 college makes him very ready for immediate impact into the NBL.”

When Armstrong entered the college transfer portal in April, it sparked reports that he would move to Gonzaga, Creighton, Providence or Xavier – however ultimately decided to forgo his NCAA eligibility and join the Taipans.

“There was a lot to look at. I had really good options in the States and a few good opportunities back here (in Australia), but the NBL is as good as it’s ever been.

“Speaking with Coach Adam Forde – he’s been great, and everyone I’ve spoken to had nothing but great things to say about him as well. It was a pretty easy decision,” explained Armstrong.

“The Taipans’ play style is something that I was attracted to, right from the jump. The way they play fast, it’s really up and down, they play really upbeat and it’s a really nice, exciting brand of basketball which I’m excited to be a part of.”

Armstrong joins Tahjere McCall, Sam Waardenburg, Sam Mennenga, Jonah Antonio, Lat Mayen and Akoldah Gak on the 2023-24 Taipans roster.

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