Big shooter Roy Booker jets in for Miners

BILLED as a tremendous shooter, Roy Booker nailed a series of three-pointers when he arrived at the Minerdome yesterday afternoon – just to shake the cobwebs off his long-haul flight from Las Vegas, via Los Angeles, in the United States.

It has been a long-haul process just to get Booker here.

The American brings extensive international experience to the Ballarat Miners’ South East Australian Basketball League campaign.

But a stint in Hungary about five years ago had Australian immigration red-flagging Booker to be at risk of tuberculosis.

The Miners organised scans for Booker in his home state of Missouri, then multiple follow-up tests interstate in California when he moved to Nevada for training.

Booker was surprised – his playing stint in Hungary had not troubled his international career before – but he said it felt good to finally arrive in Ballarat.

He can hardly wait to get started with the Miners.

“I’m just glad to be here,” Booker said. “The hardest part is over, and now it’s just the easy part of playing basketball.

“It’s about three weeks to the (South East Australian Basketball League) season opener and that time should be good enough to settle in to the team.”

Miners coach David Flint will put Booker straight to the test in a practice match session against Melton’s Big V squad tonight.

It will also be the first chance Booker has to meet most of his teammates.

Booker has played club basketball in Turkey, the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Cyprus, Syria, Austria, Israel and France.

The fact Australia is an English-speaking country, he feels, will help with his transition into the team line up – all he has to concentrate on is his game, rather than picking up a new language.

Booker played college basketball for Southeast Missouri State and spent time with NBA Development League club Texas Legends.

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