News Article

Taipans welcome Tanner Groves

07 May
3 mins read
“Tanner is a competitor. He’s a 6’9” pitbull, with post moves," - Coach Forde.

The Cairns Taipans are pleased to welcome their first import for the 2024-25 season, signing 205cm American big Tanner Groves on a one-year contract. The Oklahoma University graduate joins the Taipans for his NBL debut, following a campaign in Germany’s top-tier league.

Groves grew up in Washington and was a standout senior at Shandle Park High School, averaging 18.2 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game in his final year. He was named to the All-State team and All-Greater Spokane League first team as a senior, and Greater Spokane League MVP as a junior.

The forward/centre went on to attend Eastern Washington University and was a breakout star of the 2021 NCAA tournament. He was Big Sky Conference MVP, Big Sky Tournament MVP and named to the All-Big Sky first-team before transferring to Oklahoma.

As a senior, Groves started in all his 34 appearances for the Sooners, averaging 11.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists per game and shooting over 38 percent from three. As a super senior he averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 boards and 1.1 blocks per game, recording the team-high six double-doubles.

The 24-year-old completed his collegiate career as a two-time College Sports Communicators All-American and became the first men's basketball player in Oklahoma’s history to be honoured with a Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year accolade.

In 2023, Groves earned a roster spot with the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Summer League team and in the past 12 months has played in the Polish Basketball League, the Chinese Basketball Association and finally Basketball Bundesliga, where he is currently playing with SC Rasta Vechta and angling to make the playoffs.

Taipans Head Coach Adam Forde identified Groves early in the off-season and has followed his campaign in Germany closely, noting his unique skillset.  

“Tanner is a competitor. He is just built differently. He does all the dirty work and prides himself on not taking any possessions off. He sets hard screens, fights for rebounds and loose balls. He’s a 6’9” pitbull, with post moves,” said Coach Forde.

“He is a perfect fit for us and compliments the bigs we have currently on our roster.

“In one instance, we can pair him with Sam [Waardenburg] when we want to play Tanner in some post action.

“Then have him spaced on the three-point line when we want to open up the corridor for Kyrin [Galloway] or AK [Gak] in the pick and roll.”

“He is a high character guy that has a blue-collar work ethic. I’m confident Cairns is really going to enjoy having Tanner here."

Groves will complete the season in Germany and return to the US ahead of his wedding in Washington. He is expected to arrive in Far North Queensland in August.


Jonah Antonio
Taran Armstrong
AK Gak
Kryin Galloway
Tanner Groves*
Jackson Makoi
Sam Waardenburg


Become a Taipans member! Early bird sale is on now, but only for a limited time! Click here to join - special prices end Friday.


More News

Naming Rights Sponsor
Official Charity Partner
Major Sponsors