New Canaan's Rama brings physical presence, enthusiasm to court
Who says basketball isn't a contact sport? Chris Rama -- and those who oppose him -- would tell you otherwise. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound senior power forward looks to bump bodies and draw fouls whenever he has the ball. A captain on New Canaan High School's boys' basketball team, Rama is one of the team's go-to players and is often the focal point for defending teams who double team him.
Rama shoots about 60 percent from the floor, averages close to 20 points per game, and pulls down 10 or 12 rebounds on any given night, New Canaan Coach Jeff Bussey said.
"He's extremely reliable. Most of the time you get him the ball he scores, and if he doesn't he gets the rebound," fellow Ram senior Graham Bradley said.
Rama dropped in a game-high 32 points against Harding of Bridgeport earlier this season and regularly is one of the top point-getters, if not the top scorer, on his team each night. "It's fun when you can score a lot like that," he said. Rama does most of his damage down in the paint.
"I like to play down low. I like to hit," Rama said. It sounds like something a cornerback on the football field or an enforcer for a hockey team might say. And while hitting in basketball isn't as violent as it is in those sports of pad-wearing athletes, Rama definitely brings up the level of physicality on the court on any given night. "I'm not that much of an athlete," he says modestly, "so I like to think I make up for it with strength."
The most frustrating aspect of the game, Rama says, is not getting the calls when he believes he draws fouls. Bussey concurs that Rama doesn't get the benefit of the doubt all of the time, perhaps because he is big enough to handle the hacks opposing players dish out. "A lot of my game is getting fouled and getting to the free throw line," Rama said.
"He's very strong -- very physical. He's worked hard at it," said Bussey, who has coached Rama all four years of his high school career. Rama is a two-year starter and, as a captain, a leader on and off the court.
"He always brings a lot of energy to the team," Bradley said.
Rama has played organized basketball for eight years, since he was nine. Basketball has been a passion of his for many years, and it stands to continue to be a big part of Rama's life after high school. The Rams may be struggling to get wins this season -- the team fell to 4-12 in a loss at Bridgeport Central on Feb. 8 -- but Rama has won the interest of a handful of college basketball coaches. He was recruited by some Division III schools, and will play at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. next year. Rama plans to study political science and may go on to law school, he anticipates.
Bussey said Rama has greatly improved his jump shot in practice. "That's going to help him in college a lot," the coach said. Bussey said Rama needs to continue to get better and get stronger but that he has the skills to have success at the collegiate level. For now, the 6-foot-5 forward has a high school career to finish off -- both on the court and in the classroom. Rama and the Rams have four games remaining, including a Feb. 21 home tilt with Brien McMahon of Norwalk at 1:30 p.m. and the season-finale, also at home, against Westhill of Stamford on Feb. 23.