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GF MVP Xavier Cooks Re-Signs with Sydney

The Brydens Lawyers Sydney Kings have announced that star big man Xavier Cooks has re-signed with the reigning NBL champions for the next three years. 

The 26-year-old is coming off a breakout season where he was a dominant force in NBL22 including winning the Larry Sengstock Medal for Grand Final MVP as well as being named in the All-NBL Second Team.

The experience of winning the championship, his form and the groundswell of support from the members and fans were all major factors in Cooks’ decision to sign the three-year deal (which includes European and NBA outs). 

“From the day I joined I’ve found the Sydney Kings to be a world-class organisation,” Cooks said. 

“It would have been tough to leave a team when we’ve just won a championship, built the chemistry we’ve built and I’m so happy to be back. 

“One thing for me personally was I’ve never felt as much love as I got this year. 

“Everywhere I went people were saying how much they love the Kings and loved basketball and to have 16,000 fans there for that final championship game was huge for us as an organisation. 

“Now we’ve won a championship in that arena, the goal for us is to win multiple titles.” 

And it's the drive to win another title that is fuelling Cooks’ future ambitions. 

“I’ve always said playing for Australia at an Olympics is my biggest goal and that’s something I want to do,” he said. 

“And as a child I always wanted to play NBA so I’m not putting that aside just yet. 

“But now I’m back at Sydney the goal right now is to repeat and win another championship.” 

The Wollongong native averaged an incredible 15 points and 10 rebounds a game during the NBL22 season and led the league in rebounds and blocks. 

“I give a lot of credit to staying healthy this season and to (Kings coach) Chase Buford and his system,” Cooks said. 

“His system and his belief in me were huge. But I have to give plenty of credit to my team-mates as well. I’m not the best shooter but it helped being surrounded by good shooters and we could play off each other's strengths.” 

With Cooks re-signing, the Kings already have a strong nucleus of the championship team re-signed with Shaun Bruce, Dejan Vasiljevic, Angus Glover, Biwali Bayles, Jaylin Galloway and Jordi Hunter (the latter returning from injury).

On top of that, the Kings also signed former Cairns Taipans star Kouat Noi this week to a two-year deal. 

“This is not a rebuild, we’re looking at a similar roster with two or three new players,” Cooks said. 

“I love the look of the Kouat Noi signing and Jordi is a close friend of mine who had a tough break with injury and I can’t wait for the league to see what he is capable of.” 

Kings CEO Chris Pongrass said securing Cooks was a huge win for the organisation. 

“Signing Xavier for three years is a major milestone for our Club - we’ve always said that we want to build this side around Xavier and that remains true” he said. 

“Given that he’s already been with us for three seasons, another three seasons will make him one of the longest tenured Kings in recent history. Continuity and that stability in our playing roster is something we’ve been striving for as an organisation since I arrived. 

“Xavier is an unbelievable talent. He’s one of the best players in this league and re-signing him was a focal point for us in the free agency period.” 

Xavier is currently playing with the Wellington Saints in the NZNBL this off-season and recorded a triple double on debut for the Saints on Friday night.  

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