Ballarat’s rising basketball star Sam Short has signed with Melbourne United for the upcoming National Basketball League season.
Short, who has just returned from injury for the Ballarat Miners in the South East Australian Basketball League, becomes the second Miner in two weeks to be signed to Melbourne United’s 12-man roster following Craig Moller.
“I was really excited (to find out the news) and am just looking forward to the challenge,” Short said.
“I’ve been talking to Craig about how he goes about it and just learning little things from observing.
“It is always good to have a familiar face around and someone to bond with so it will be great to have him there.”
Short, who was invited to train with Melbourne United last year, said he was excited by the opportunities for improvement in the NBL.
“I’m looking forward to going up against all those high calibre guys that are from European leagues and NBA,” Short said.
Short is also hoping Melbourne United’s preseason practice games at the Mars Minerdome continue so he can play in front of the crowd that has supported him throughout his junior career.
In pursuit of a professional basketball career, Short has always opted for the Australian pathway over the US College system.
“The option to stay in Australia close to family as well as go up against professional men I thought would just enhance my skills quicker and give me the opportunity to play against quality opposition,” he said.
The signing comes after a break out year for the 19-year-old in 2016.
Short won a gold medal representing Victoria at the Under-20 Australian Junior Championships, played in the internationally renowned Under-18 Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Germany, won a bronze medal at the Australian Under-20 National Championship and represented the Australian Emu’s at the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Oceania Under-19 qualification tournaments.
“It was a very busy year but it was great,” Short said.
“Representing my state and my country is something I’ve always aimed to do and to be able to do that in the same year is something I’m really proud of.”
Miners coach Eric Hayes said the opportunity was well deserved and looked forward to helping Short with his development during the transition.
“We are very proud of Sam and his growth and development from junior club basketball through to senior basketball,” Hayes said.
“Sam has put in so much work over many years and made many sacrifices to achieve at a very high level so this is testament to his effort and mental toughness.”