NATHAN Sobey has taken a step closer to a National Basketball League career.
Cairns Taipans have secured the GMHBA Ballarat Miner first-year player for its training squad.
He is the second Miner to be picked up by an NBL club this month.
Point guard Anthony Fisher will be a development player with Perth Wildcats.
Sobey also follows another Miner, Shaun Bruce, to Cairns.
Bruce joined the Taipans as a development player in 2012-13 and was promoted to a full-time roster spot in 2013-14.
While Fisher will be able to play in NBL games, Sobey will only be part of the Tapians’ training program.
Under NBL rules, training players are permitted to practise with the full-time squad and be eligible to replace an injured player only once, for the duration of that injury.
Taipans head coach Aaron Fearne said Sobey was more than capable of a full-time roster spot in the NBL.
“I’m really excited for Nathan to be joining the Taipans squad.
“He has great competitive spirit, he’s a strong defender and his athleticism is as good as it gets in this league,” Fearne said.
“He probably flew under the radar a little bit in college, but I’m pleased to have him be a part of the club,” he said.
Fearne said Sobey’s signing would allow the guard to continue his development and eventually challenge for a full-time position.
“I think we’ve shown as a club that we can help younger guys improve and he’s seen that from the outside looking in.”
Sobey returned from the United States earlier this year after playing in NCAA division 1 college University of Wyoming.
He joined the Miners in May after the start of the South East Australian Basketball League season, having previously played for Ballarat in the state youth league.
Sobey has made a mark with the Miners, being a key contributor in them reaching the play-offs – being a SEABL player of the week earlier this month.
Sobey will complete his Miners finals duties before departing for Cairns.