The GMHBA Ballarat Miner Chris Smith has decided to call time on his basketball career.
Smith 28 has spent the last five seasons in Ballarat after moving across from Mount Gambier to continue his basketball and begin University.
Whilst at College overseas and in Mount Gambier Smith worked with children with special needs and this ignited a passion within to become a teacher within the Specialist Education sector.
Smith enrolled in teaching at Federation University studying full time, as well as juggling part time teacher’s aide work at Ballarat Specialist School and Miners’ commitments.
Smith has played 157 games in the South East Australian Basketball League, 114 of those for Ballarat and it will only continue to increase as the GMHBA Ballarat Miners make their way into the finals series.
GMHBA Ballarat Miners Head Coach Eric Hayes said “Smitty has been a vital player in our program for several years now in many ways. People would realise that Smitty has been the glue for the Miners for quite some time as he does so much to bring the group together.”
Hayes added “Smitty set up our group chat immediately after signing on last year which has turned out to be a great place for players to communicate and have fun and joke together, It is our teams social hub.” Hayes finished with “Smitty is such a great guy and a great teammate as he is all about the team and what is best for the team. His court time has varied over the years due to many injuries but he has always just made the most of his opportunities.”
Senior Elite Teams – Miners chair Simon Walshe added, “Chris’ commitment to Ballarat since arriving in 2013 has been incredible, his commitment to our community programs has been second to none.”
Smith started full time work as a teacher at Ballarat Specialist School this year and with the demands of teaching and the ever-growing professionalism within Basketball Ballarat’s senior elite teams, Smith has made the call to retire from SEABL level competition.
Smith said, “Basketball has been a huge part of my life for a very long time and I have loved my time here playing for the Miners. However I am ready to take a step away from the professionalism and commitment that comes with playing at this level and allow myself more time to focus on my career as a teacher and also look at doing some travelling.”
Smith continued, “I am very grateful to Basketball Ballarat and everyone involved with the club. They have done so much for me and they truly care for the success of their players both on and off the court. The basketball community and fans in Ballarat are fantastic and I will miss running out to our home crowd.”
Unlike last year, the last regular season game won’t be the last for the Miners and Smith as they embark on a finals campaign. The GMHBA Ballart Miners will finish in the top three, with the results of the round to finalise the final ladder position.
The Miners will host at least one home final in 2017 so fans will get to see Smith at least two more times before he hangs his basketball shoes up for the last time with the Miners.
The GMHBA Ballarat Miners take on Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence at 8pm on Saturday night at the MARS MINERDOME. This will follow the Ballarat Skoda Rush’s game at 6pm.
Doors open at 5:30pm.
For more information on the GMHBA Miners or Ballarat Rush please contact Elite Teams Administrator Melissa Thomas via 5330 7604 or Melissa.Thomas@ballaratbasketball.com