ALEX FAIR THE ADVOCATE Reyne Smith will be “living the dream” in September by being on the same court as NBL players in his home state.
The 16-year-old Penguin shooting guard from Ulverstone on Wednesday was named as part of a strong North-West Coast contingent in the NBL1 All-Stars as he was rewarded for his strong season for the North-West Thunder.
He joins former Thunder player and Sydney Kings development player Lachie Barker, who was on Frankston’s roster this season in the team.
Zac White, who played NBL1 with the now defunct Hobart Huskies and is a teammate of Smith’s at Penguin in the NWBU has also been named, with Thunder coach Sam Armstrong to be an assistant to Mark Chivers, who guided the Huskies in the NBL1 this year.
The All-Stars will play matches against Brisbane Bullets at Ulverstone Sports and Recreation Centre on Thursday, September 19, at 6pm, and the Cairns Taipans at Launceston’s Silverdome on Saturday, September 21.
It will be part of a big period for Smith, who later this month will represent Australia’s under-17 side in New Caledonia at the Oceania Championships.
“It will be really exciting to come up against NBL sides that I have been following for quite a number of years now,” he said on Wednesday.
“I am looking forward to the challenge, but I can’t imagine what it will be like, but I will be expecting more athletic guys.
“This is huge to get more exposure, for NBL clubs to get to have a look at me at such a young age and also get to know me better.”
Smith was hoping Tasmanians in all areas of the state, with NBL Blitz matches to also be played in Devonport, Kingborough and Hobart, would pack out the venues as the state pushes closer to its own NBL side.
Barker, from Penguin, was also thrilled to be included in the team.
“It is a great opportunity and I’m very excited about it to play with a lot of these guys that I have played against, so it will be fun to play in,” he said.
“It is good to be back home playing where you grew up, so it will be good to see a lot of familiar faces come and watch and try to get basketball popping in Tasmania.
“I’m excited and I really can’t wait to get out there and give it a crack.”
Other Coastal NBL Blitz fixtures will see Cairns take on Adelaide at 8pm at Ulverstone on September 19 and South East Melbourne battle Sydney on September 20 in Devonport.
Tickets for games at the NBL Blitz range from $5 for children, $7.50 for adults and $20 for families.
People can register at www.nbltas.com.au to receive priority access when tickets go on Thursday.