In recent years the Australian Football League has looked to college basketball for new talent, and with good reason based upon the rules of the sport. Given the number of ball-ups within a game, there’s an area where tall, athletic players can be of use to teams at the ruck (or ruckman) position.
For those unfamiliar, a ball-up is the way in which a referee puts the ball back into play, either by way of tossing the ball into the air (or bouncing if off the turf to do so). This weekend, a former college basketball player could make history as the first to play in a first division game.
According to the Associated Press, former Mississippi Valley State and Morehead State forward Jason Holmes is in the squad announced by St. Kilda for the team’s game against Geelong. While other former college basketball players, including Oklahoma State’s Mason Cox and DePaul/Long Beach State’s Eric Wallace, have made the move to Australia none have been able to crack the highest level of the game.
“It’s one of the dreams they sell us when they try to get Americans over here,” Holmes said. “I don’t think it’s sunk in yet and I understand it’s a really big thing, but I’m just proud to be a cog in the machine that’s going to help this sport grow internationally.”
Among the former college players who participated in an AFL combine held in Florida this spring are Radford’s Jalen Carethers and Arizona’s Matt Korcheck.