Lithgow Basketball Association has recruited American basketball player Darreon Tolliver into the Lithgow Lazers squad.
Tolliver had his first run with the team on Saturday, June 1 in which the team won 108-90.
Tolliver, who grew up in California, played baseball until eighth grade when found out he could either spend $100 on basketball shoes or $900 to continue his baseball.
"I thought I would take the hoop route, and now I am in Lithgow," he said.
The American import played a year in college before travelling around to different countries to play the sport he loved.
When friend from college and now Lithgow Lazers teammate Michael Johnson contacted him to say a spot was open to play in Lithgow, he jumped at the chance.
"My season had ended in Spain so we worked to make everything happen and here I am," he said.
When it came to joining a team mid season, Tolliver went in with an open mind.
"Not everything is going to fall how you expect it to, but you learn to adjust and it all comes together eventually," he said.
Tolliver said coming mid season was made easier by having a team mate he knew well.
"It's good to be able to work with one of my guys, so we do our group training twice a week, then we will train at the gym and go to the courts everyday to get shots in," he said.
"It has become home away from home."
Tolliver said he has gelled well with the rest of the team.
"They respect what I bring to the table and my main goal is to win every game and make the top four before the season ends," he said.
"We are working hard and trusting the process."
Tolliver said his main goal was to get the team into a position to get them to the play offs.
"We are standing fifth, but the goal is to get into the top four with the play offs in early August,"
Tolliver's job on the court is to do a bit of everything, shoot, rebound, defend and block shots.
"I think also I can be seen as a veteran, I've spent a long time playing basketball and have spent three years overseas, so if I can lead by example I can help the younger players,"
Tolliver and Johnson will also be doing youth development basketball with some of the schools around the region.
"We want to inspire the young kids, so we will help them with class work, their work ethic and focus levels, plus teach them the fundamentals of basketball both on and off the court."
"You can't just think you will become a LeBron James overnight, but I have an eagerness to teach them."
According to Tolliver the Australian teams use more team aspects of the game, more running plays and spacing.
"In America it's more one on one athleticism but really it's all the same on the drawing board, you put the ball in the basket," he said.
Tolliver wanted to thank all the Lazers fans that come to watch the home games.
"Thank you Lazer fans who come and pack out the gym, the marathon of the season continues," he said.
"I'm on a marathon and I'm not focused on the difficult parts of the season."
Tolliver and teammate Johnson said they love taking the energy the home crowd brings.
"Everything we do, good or bad, the crowd lets us hear about it, and that excites us, we want to play better to get a reaction," he said.
"It also puts off the other side mentally, and they play a bit hesitantly.
"But when we go to an away game and they have a loud crowd it makes me work harder and push so we can show them what we're made of."
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