Four months ago Eric Wallace had never heard of a Sherrin, let alone kicked one. But now the one-time basketballer has signed with North Melbourne as an international rookie with hopes of becoming the first American to play senior AFL football.
Wallace, who played college basketball in the USA, has been training with the Roos for the past two weeks after impressing at the draft combine in October.
The Roos needed to make a quick decision on him by this week's deadline or request an extension.
The 23-year-old from North Carolina was one of 10 international prospects invited to the camp after standing out at an American combine held by the AFL in Los Angeles.
Wallace, who is 197cm and 105kg, was considered an NBA prospect during his three-college career but missed out on being drafted.
He had been considering moving to Europe to play basketball when his agent called offering him the chance to test at the LA Combine.
Wallace told The Age in October that he had fallen in love with the game quickly and, as a professional athlete, wanted to master it.
"It's a physically tough game. It's very fast-paced, but it's addictive," he said.
"I had no idea what it was but as soon as I watched it on my own and took the game in, I just got addicted to it."
- The Age