Tohi Smith-Milner is trading an Australian winter for a Kiwi one after putting his name forward for the upcoming Sal’s NBL Player Draft.
The Melbourne-based Tall Black will travel back to Aotearoa in the coming weeks to play in the six-week-long competition taking place in Auckland.
Smith-Milner says he is eager to get back on the court in familiar territory.
“More than anything I’m happy I’ll be back playing, but it’ll also be cool playing where I grew up.
“I’m from out west and have family and friends still there, so having the opportunity to connect with them is also a bonus.
“We’re still in Level 3 here in Melbourne and I’m still restricted to my home workout pad. I’ve actually been going a bit mad without basketball, so knowing I’ll be back playing soon is cool.”
Before being constricted to Netflix and push-ups, the forward had committed to playing in the NBL1. However, three clubs withdrew from the competition, making it difficult for the season to go ahead.
This prompted him to look for other ways to get back on the hardwood and after the announcement the 2020 Sal’s NBL competition he decided to throw his hat into the ring.
“Things are moving a bit differently over here [Melbourne] and I just really wanted to get back playing.
“I’d been talking to a few people in the know and they were filling me in on what was being organised back home over the break.
“So, after not seeing much progress with the NBL1, I thought why not get back home and get to work.”
The close to two-month stay in the City of Sails will also be the longest the Rosmini College old boy has spent in his backyard in some time.
“It’s quite exciting because since moving to Melbourne I don’t think I’ve spent longer than a couple of weeks in New Zealand.
“I guess I’m killing two birds with one stone in a way, and for two important things – family and basketball.”
To register for the 2020 Sal's NBL Player Draft - click HERE.