GMHBA Ballarat Miner Nathan Sobey has joined the NBL’s Cairns Taipans’ training squad.
The 190-centimetre guard recently returned from a productive senior year at NCAA division 1 college University of Wyoming, starting all 33 games and averaging 9.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists.
Sobey returned to the Miners upon his return to Australia in May – he previously played for the Youth League Miners before college – and has impressed in his 17 appearances with 17.2 points, 2.6 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game.
He garnered SEABL Player of the Week honours for the first week of August, posting identical stat lines of 28 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in consecutive outings to help the Miners consolidate fourth place on the East Men Ladder.
Taipans head coach Aaron Fearne said while Sobey will join the club as a training player, he 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.
“Being a training player is not an easy job as you aren’t eligible to suit up for home games like development players are. But he wanted to be part of a club that wanted him, which we do.”
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.”
Under NBL rules, training players may practice with a team’s full-time squad and are eligible for activation to replace an injured player only once, for the duration of that injury.
Sobey follows former Miner Shaun Bruce who was first selected as a Taipans development player for the 2012/2013 NBL season then promoted to a full-time roster spot in 2013/2014.
Sobey will complete his Miners finals duties before departing for Cairns.