THE Miners will get a whole lot bigger next year, signing one of the tallest players in the league Chris Smith, at 208 centimetres.
Smith played in Mt Gambier’s Pioneers in SEABL in 2011 and 2012, where last season he averaged 10 points and 12 rebounds per 40 minutes.
Prior to playing in SEABL, Smith played American NCAA college basketball for Hawaii’s Chaminade University in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
“I had a couple of injuries over there, so decided it was best to come home and pursue basketball in Australia,” Smith said.
The 23-year-old said he first spoke with the Miners after the 2011 season but committed to spending another year in Mt Gambier.
“I’m ready for a change. My girlfriend lives in Melbourne, I wanted to be closer to the city and closer to an airport as my family lives up in Brisbane,” Smith said.
“I’m excited to join the Miners. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the organisation and (Miners head coach) Guy Molloy,” Smith said.
“We haven’t discussed what my role will be specifically, but as I’m a big man I imagine it will be stopping other big men, rebounds and being a big presence in defence.
Ballarat Holden Miners head coach Guy Molloy said Smith would be a valuable prospect for the team.
“Chris is a talented 23-year-old player who has served a couple of apprenticeship seasons coming off the bench in Mt Gambier. We’ve been looking for a quality Australian big for the last few seasons,” Molloy said.
Smith said as a big guy, he would be aiming for double figures scoring and rebounds in his games.
“The Miners are known for developing players so I’m looking to improve my game and help the team make playoffs,” Smith said.
He will move to Ballarat in early January when the Miners start pre-season training, after spending some time with his family in Brisbane over Christmas. He still has another seven weeks in Mt Gambier.