BALLARAT Miners are set to dazzle audiences this South East Australian Basketball League season, thanks to the addition of Guam product Earnest Ross and the return of Roy Booker.
The talented duo landed in Australia on Monday and made an appearance at the Minerdome, where they are expected to put on a show as the Miners attempt to challenge for the title.
Ross, who was brought up in Chicago, arrives at the club after being listed by the Santa Cruz Warriors in the NBA D-League last year. The 24-year-old is no stranger to Australia, having featured for the Perth Wildcats between 2013-14.
Ross told The Courier that joining the Miners was an easy decision.
“It was a good situation,” Ross said.
“The coaches did a great job getting me here, they’re really nice people to talk to. I’m looking forward to playing under coach (Eric) Hayes, he seems like a really great coach – a players’ coach.
“And being in Australia, you can’t really beat that. I love Australia.”
Ross, who stands at 196 centimetres tall, was curtailed last season with an Achilles injury but has almost completely recovered.
The crowd-pleaser said he was looking forward to delighting the Miners’ fans.
“I like to win every game. I’m always going to give it my all when I step out onto the court,” Ross said.
“As far as skill-wise, I’m just trying to bring jumps, passes and do whatever to engage the crowd – I’m a crowd’s player.
“I want to make sure they enjoy themselves, as long as we are winning at the same time.”
Booker is returning for his third season at the Miners, after winning the team’s MVP award last year.
He was also selected in the SEABL all-star five.
Booker said he was glad to return for another shot at the title.
“I’m excited and ready to play again,” Booker said.
“The fans, everyone here treats me good. The people here are cool. I’ll be the same, no different. They know what to expect from me.
“I want to win, though. I’m trying to stay real focused on the team goal this year, but everybody has to be on the same page.”
Basketball Ballarat elite teams administrator Melissa Thomas said the two would be significant players for the team this season.
“We hope to have a versatile team this year with Earnest – we can play tall and small and Earnest will play a big role in that,” Thomas said.
“It’s great to get Roy back as well. He loves the community and the community loves him.”
Thomas also confirmed the club had completed its recruiting process for this season, with import Ollie Bailey the last to join.
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