Sport

Wallace swaps court for field in transition to Aussie Rules

Eric Wallace of the United States talks to the media during the 2012 AFL draft combine at Etihad Stadium on October 2, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.
Eric Wallace of the United States talks to the media during the 2012 AFL draft combine at Etihad Stadium on October 2, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia. Lucas Dawson / Getty Images

IF FORMER Canadian rugby union player Mike Pyke can play in a premiership side with the Sydney Swans, why can't former US college basketballer Eric Wallace do the same at North Melbourne?

The Kangaroos announced yesterday that Wallace had joined the club as an international rookie after a 10-day trial.

That followed the 24-year-old's impressive results at the AFL Draft Combine in October, where he recorded an 80cm vertical leap (in the top 3%), and a 2.90 second 20m sprint.

Coach Brad Scott said the biggest challenge for the native of North Carolina would be improving his endurance to AFL standards.

Scott also said its was Wallace's worth ethic and skill improvement he showed during the trial that had convinced the club to take a punt on signing him.

"When Eric came out to the AFL Combine he really impressed with his athleticism … the athletic feats that he shows on the basketball court we really think a lot of those traits can transfer onto the footy field," Scott said.

"It's really exciting for us to see just how far we can take him. It's going to be a long road for him there's no doubt, but we certainly think that based on what he's shown so far it's worth trying."

Standing 196cm and weighing in at 102kg (almost identical to rugby league code-hooper Israel Folau), Wallace would be a candidate for the ruck or a key position.

He will play with North Ballarat in 2013, and said his desire to play AFL had been sparked by watching the Swans win this year's premiership.

"I'm very confident in myself. Like coach says, I've got a long way to go," Wallace said.

"It's the first step. I'm just grateful for the opportunity to have the chance to work towards the goal of being senior listed and help(ing) the team out.

"It really stuck with me when I went home and [I] wanted to be a part of it. I'd fallen in love with AFL by then."

Wallace isn't the first basketballer to try to make the transition to AFL.

Port Adelaide premiership ruckman Dean Brogan won an NBL title with Adelaide 36ers in 1998 before making a successful switch to Australian Rules football.

Earlier this year, 29-year-old dual Australian Olympic basketballer Mark Worthington had a trial with the West Coast Eagles, and while he showed plenty of the skills and attributes required, the Eagles passed because of his age.

Time is one thing Wallace has on his side.

Topics:  afl, aussie rules, basketball, north melbourne kangaroos, usa




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

3 easy dinner recipes your kids will love, and so will you

No Caption

THERE is a middle ground! Dinners fit for kids and adults.

How to reduce your child's risk of food allergies

ABOUT 90% of food allergies are caused by just seven foods.

5 good mental health habits for kids (and parents)

CRYING OUT FOR HELP: The demand for counselling support for children and young people is increasing.

FORMING good habits early is critical for your child's mental health.

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Susie O'Neill: Why I stopped smacking my children

Swimming legend Susie O'Neill says she has stopped smacking her kids.

“I (smacked) because that’s what I knew growing up."

Introducing a step-parent into the family

Introducing a step-parent into the family can be stressful for the children, as well as the new parent.

THERE is no easy way to introduce a step parent into the family.

Purrfect result for cat man

CAT LOVER: Luke James Horton was found not guilty in Ipswich District Court.

MAN gets to go home to his beloved moggie after not guilty verdict

Darren Lockyer heads star lineup for Swich On luncheon

STAR POWER: Darren Lockyer, holding up the Origin Shield in 2011, will be a guest speaker at Friday’s Swich On luncheon.

Darren Lockyer heads all star cast at Swich On luncheon

Harding’s vision for making key city projects a reality

KEEN: Teresa Harding will back the Norman St bridge and IPAC if she wins office on July 2.

Teresa Harding outlines her plans for key infrastructure in city

Latest deals and offers

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum says she reduced Oliver Curtis's sentence due to comments...

Perisher has 50cm of snow

Resort to open after 50cm of snow.

Smiggin Holes and Blue Cow to open after 50cm of snaow falls in Perisher valley.

Hey Mumma Exercise

Do you think kids these days need more exercise?

Do you think kids these days need more exercise?

Is this state’s cheapest house?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward

Rockhampton property in a lull, but a change is coming

Rockhampton's housing market in "pre-election mode"

Commercial Property June 16 edition

SNAPPED UP: A sushi shop in a106sq mground-floor tenancy with a 43sq moutdoor area in Southport Central Towers on the Gold Coast has sold for $954,000.

RealCommercial edition June 16, 2016.