24 January 2024
BASKETBALL – BIG V – TOM HAYES (LATROBE VALEY EXPRESS)
BIG V side Gippsland United have signed professional basketballer Jalin Wimberly, a new import from the United States ahead of the upcoming 2024 season.
The 25-year-old moves to the region from Leesburg, Georgia in the US, after completing his college basketball career.
Wimberly played at Andrew College (Junior College), Purdue University Fort Wayne – an NCAA Division 1 school, and Reinhardt University in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
“Everything has been pretty good so far, I can’t really complain about my basketballing experience,” he said.
“I’m blessed to be in this position, so nothing has been too hard on me just yet, but if it does, I’m capable of handling adversity.”
Despite growing up on the other side of the world, life in Gippsland is not all too different compared to Leesburg, Georgia, according to the import.
“I feel great, scenery is nice, I love the atmosphere, everybody is very welcoming of me so I love it,” he said.
After being asked if living in Gippsland will take some transitioning, Wimberly laughed.
“It’s actually pretty similar, so I’ve had the chance to adapt to it.
“It looks just like my hometown, nothing’s changed.”
Wimberly only arrived in Australia on January 9, and already has the ball rolling, going on a training camp and mingling with his new teammates in the last couple of weeks.
Having no prior knowledge of the Big V competition until his arrival, he remains confident he will be able to handle the task with Gippsland United.
“I haven’t had a chance to see it yet, but I’m very confident that I can handle the competition very well,” Wimberly said.
With the ability to play as a shooting guard and a small forward, Wimberly offers versatility on both the front and backcourt which is every coach’s dream.
He believes his strengths lie in both areas, with his ability to score on offense and trusting in his abilities on defence.
Standing at 6′ 4″ (193cm) tall, Wimberly’s athleticism only compliments both of those attributes, and he hopes to make an instant impact with United.
“Just being able to fit in with the guys, just get everybody open as well as find myself within this team,” he said.
It’s fair to say that basketball in Australia, especially in regional Victoria, isn’t as big as it is in the US, but Wimberly sees past that and says that everyone around the world is playing the same game.
“I don’t expect too much, basketball is basketball everywhere else,” he said.
“I’m just ready to see what the fans (are) like, I’m gonna try to bring a special thing to the team here.”
The Big V competition gets underway on the weekend of March 16 and 17, and the full fixture is set to be released in due course.
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