NEW Ballarat Holden Miner Chris Smith has made his mark in Ballarat by coaching basketball at children’s clinics soon after arriving to the city.
“Kids look up to you when you play at a high level – some of my best memories as a kid are remembering going to camps or sessions where there were the Brisbane Bullets,” Smith said.
“It inspires you to do the same.”
He said helping children was one of his enjoyments, helping them learn the fundamental skills of basketball while having a bit of fun.
“These kids camps are really important – they could be the next Miners.”
The 208 centimetre power forward centre moved to Ballarat after playing with Mt Gambier in SEABL for the past two years, and two years in Hawaii playing American college basketball prior to that.
Smith worked with a disability employment agency in Mt Gambier, after having volunteered as an umpire at the Special Olympics in Hawaii.
Smith said working closely with people with a disability is something he would like to continue.
The 23-year-old has been impressed by what Ballarat has to offer.
“I really like Ballarat, it’s a great city, and I really like the fact that it’s only one hour away from Melbourne and it’s also close to the airport, so it’s easy for me to fly home to Brisbane,” Smith said.
“I’m very confident of what has happened so far in Ballarat.”
He will soon be joined by Australian based American import Matt Hanson and other recruits.
“We’re waiting a bit to see what happens next but I’m looking forward to seeing who’s selected as a coach and then meeting future teammates.
Although Smith dreams to play in the National Basketball League, right now he thinks Ballarat is a great place to be.
“My dream is to be picked for the NBL, it would be great to play professionally, but where I am now is a great level.”