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A GIANT former national-level basketballer with strong links to Richmond is on AFL clubs' radar as a Category B rookie.

Mate Colina is Tigers defender Noah Balta's cousin and also knows the club's ruck coach and ex-player Ivan Maric and ruckman Ivan Soldo.

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AFL.com.au understands Richmond is one of several clubs that have shown interest in Colina, who's been playing division-one basketball at the University of Hawaii.

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Colina, who is seven-foot tall, or 213cm, was part of the same Australian under-17 basketball squad as Brisbane forward Tom Fullarton and ex-Eagle Patrick Bines in 2016.

The 21-year-old could become the tallest player to ever appear in an AFL game if he signs a deal, edging out Collingwood's Mason Cox and ex-Docker Aaron Sandilands, who are both 211cm.

It wouldn't be the first time the Tigers have taken a punt on transforming a basketballer into a ruckman via a family connection.

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Soldo, who played soccer and basketball as a teenager, had never played football before Maric convinced his cousin and Richmond six years ago that he had a future in the AFL.

He's now a premiership player and the Tigers' No.1 ruckman.

Colina has at least played some junior football, at Essendon Doutta Stars, where Balta was a teammate.

Balta is enjoying a breakout season in defence for Richmond this year, with coach Damien Hardwick saying on multiple occasions he reminds him of a young Alex Rance.