Former Eastern Washington, Shadle Park standout Tanner Groves signs with Australian club

May 7—Tanner Groves, the Spokane native and former Shadle Park standout who played three seasons at Eastern Washington, has signed a one-year deal with the Cairns Taipans of Australia's National Basketball League.

It's the fourth stop of Groves' professional career after playing stints at Anwil Wloclawek of the Polish Basketball League, Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association and most recently, SC Rasta Vechta of the Basketball Bundesliga in Germany.

The 24-year-old Groves became the first international import to sign with the NBL club based in Cairns, Queensland, in the northeastern corner of Australia.

"Tanner is a competitor. He is just built differently," Taipans coach Adam Forde said, according to the team's website. "He does all the dirty work and prides himself on not taking any possessions off. He sets hard screens, fights for rebounds and loose balls. He's a 6-9 pitbull, with post moves."

Groves has made 11 appearances this season for SC Rasta Vechta in the Lower Saxony region of Germany.

The 6-foot-10 forward is averaging 7.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 20.3 minutes per game, according to Rasta Vechta's roster consists of six other American-born players, including former Saint Mary's standout Tommy Kuhse.

During his time in China, Groves played five games for Xinjiang, averaging 6.8 points and 3.2 rebounds, per Eurobasket.

In his first professional season, Groves averaged 6.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 15 games for Anwil, which competes in the Polish Basketball League.

"He is a perfect fit for us and complements the bigs we have currently on our roster," Forde said of Groves. "He is a high-character guy that has a blue-collar work ethic. I'm confident Cairns is really going to enjoy having Tanner here."

According to a team news release, Groves is planning to finish his season in Germany and return to Washington to marry longtime girlfriend Josie Walser, a former All-Greater Spokane League volleyball standout at Shadle Park who played at Dominican University of California.

Groves will move to Australia in August prior to the NBL season, according to the team news release.

After playing three seasons at Eastern Washington and closing his college career with two more at Oklahoma, Groves signed a NBA Summer League deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder before going overseas to start his pro career in Poland.

Groves' younger brother, Jacob, played two seasons at EWU and transferred to Oklahoma with Tanner. Jacob spent two seasons with the Sooners before spending his final collegiate season at Virginia, where he started 15 of 34 games and averaged 7.4 points and 2.8 rebounds, advancing to the First Four of the NCAA Tournament with the Cavaliers.