NATHAN Sobey’s work ethic and athleticism has already impressed his Ballarat Miners teammates.
Fresh back from college basketball in the United States, Sobey joined the roster officially for training on Tuesday night and has been putting up shots relentlessly each day at the MARS Minerdome since.
GMHBA Miners fans can watch Sobey make his South East Australian Basketball League debut at home on Saturday night.
Miners captain Liam Gibcus said Sobey was already proving an exciting addition to the team.
“We’ve just had a couple of training sessions with him this week. He’s an explosive player and that will really benefit us, especially with Kris Blicavs on the long-term injury list,” Gibcus said.
“(Athleticism) is his strong point. He’s very quick and strong off the first step.
“He’s definitely a hard guy to guard at training.”
Sobey featured in every game this season for University of Wyoming in NCAA division one competition and has played the full four years for the Cowboys, since leaving the Miners’ youth league team.
His return to the Miners seems perfect timing.
The Miners are set to host Mount Gambier – the only undefeated SEABL men’s team – then must back it up with a road trip to face powerful reigning premier Dandenong on Sunday.
An away trip for a Canberra double follows next week, then a road trip to Albury-Wodonga. Roster depth and versatility will be pivotal.
Miners imports Roy Booker and Ken Horton have been in stellar form, which has also drawn close attention from rivals.
Sobey’s inclusion should ease the defensive pressure on Booker and Horton or, at least, to capitalise on it like point guard Anthony Fisher, who has been putting up big numbers, including a career-high 26 points made against North-West Tasmania last round.
Gibcus said confidence was high after pulling off two big comeback wins in a gruelling Tasmanian double last week and that how the team banded together was important, especially with more tough assignments looming.
“Those games definitely gave us a lot of confidence and also proved a bit about willpower,” Gibcus said.
“When you’re down by so much, it’s always good when you can get back up and knowing now we can do that.”