Melbourne United may have found a youthful replacement for All-NBL forward Tai Wesley, signing Australian Daniel Trist for the next two seasons.
The 25-year-old has played in Europe since graduating from US college Lafayette in 2015, with much of his time spent in Spain where he averaged 11 points and five rebounds per game for Ourense this season.
With Wesley leaving the club, Melbourne saw a worthy replacement in Trist, a 206-centimetre big man who can bang inside and also knock down outside shots.
Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman has tracked Trist since his college career ended and sees him as a signing who can immediately contribute to the reigning NBL champions.
“I’d looked at him for a spot with New Zealand when he first came out of the college system, but he chose to start his professional career in Spain,” Vickerman said.
“I’ve continued to follow his progress every year, and now he’s ready to come home, whereas other years he hadn’t wanted to”.
“He’s a very mobile four-five [power forward-centre] who can certainly move positions, but has been playing the four a lot more than he did in college. He shoots the three ball well but can also sprint the floor really well for a big man too.
“There’s certainly a toughness about the way he plays the game, and a physicality that’s obviously important for us in that role.”
Trist is expected to arrive in Melbourne soon and is tipped to be joining a SEABL side for the remainder of the winter before turning his attentions to Melbourne United’s preseason.
“Playing in Europe gave me a great opportunity to grow and expand my game but returning to Australia is something I always wanted to do,” Trist said.
“I’ve just been waiting for the right opportunity and joining a reigning championship team is pretty much the best situation you could hope for.
“It’s a very mental game over there, you learn to read the game a lot and react to different styles of defence and offence, and it’s really just a great place to grow your game.”
Melbourne United have so far announced Chris Goulding, Peter Hooley, Craig Moller, Kyle Adnam, Tohi Smith-Milner and Trist among their contracted players for next season along with development player Sam Short.
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