WARRNAMBOOL export Nathan Sobey has taken a major step towards an NBL career.
Sobey, 24, will join Cairns Taipans’ training squad for the 2014-15 season.
The former University of Wyoming guard will move north when his commitments with SEABL side Ballarat Miners wrap up in coming weeks.
Sobey said he was excited to join the Taipans and learn from head coach Aaron Fearne.
“I will go up there and work my hardest and my main goal is to gel with the guys and improve each game and see how I go in that environment in my first year,” he said. “I only know a couple of the guys and won’t know much more until I get there but from what I have heard and what I have read, I think it is going to be a good season.”
Under NBL rules, training players can 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.
“I am a bit too old for a development spot,” Sobey said.
“I am excited to get up there and train with the guys and have a good season with them.”
Fearne said the Taipans were pleased to get someone of Sobey’s character to The Snakepit.
“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 told the club’s website.
“He probably flew under the radar a little bit in college, but I’m pleased to have him be a part of the club.
“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 would be given the chance to develop and would push his case for a spot on a full-time roster.
Sobey joins former Ballarat Miner Shaun Bruce, a guard from Horsham, on Cairns’ list.
Bruce started as a development player before he was upgraded to the Taipans’ full-time roster last season.
“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,” Fearne said.
Sobey has played 17 matches for the Miners, who wrap up their regular season campaign on Saturday, since returning from a four-year US college career in May.
The former Warrnambool Seahawk spent his final two college years at National Collegiate Athletic Assoc-iation division one school University of Wyoming, where he averaged 9.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in his senior season.
Sobey’s built on that form with Ballarat and was named SEABL player of the week in early August.
He’s averaged 17.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists a game for the Miners.
“It’s started to pick up the last couple of weeks,” Sobey said of his form.
Ballarat sits fourth in its conference and plays third-placed Geelong on Saturday night.