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Ili Commits to United for Two Seasons

Reigning NBL Best Sixth Man winner Shea Ili has signed an extension with Melbourne United to remain with the club through the end of the 2024/25 season.

Coming off a career year, Ili said re-signing felt like the best decision for both himself, and his family.

“We’ve found a home base here in Melbourne after leaving New Zealand,” Ili told the club’s website.

“We can see ourselves being here for a long time. We love the club, being a part of the boys, it’s a great group, and a great environment to be around.”

Ili stepped into a larger role for United last season, entering the starting line-up down the stretch of the season and putting together some big-time scoring games.

Having the freedom to operate within Dean Vickerman’s offence the way he is comfortable with also played into Ili’s decision to remain in Melbourne.

“To be surrounded by a staff that has faith in me to play my game is massive,” Ili said.

“Deano and all the coaches know my game and give me the freedom to do what I need to do within our system to help us win. Having that freedom is something every player wants, so it’s the perfect environment for me to play within.”

Having seen his development up close and personal over the past few years, Vickerman praised Ili’s growth, and is ecstatic to have him locked up with United moving forward.

“Shea has shown a fantastic progression with United, he’s played with some incredible point guards, and just seeing his growth with our team and the New Zealand National Team has been great,” Vickerman said.

“He’s an integral part of our program moving forward. He’s a lead by example guy. Certainly selfless in the way that he plays, diving on loose balls, providing amazing ball pressure, but we’ve seen major growth in his leadership and as a scorer.”

With United’s season tipping off on October 2 against the New Zealand Breakers, Ili has his eyes firmly set on making a firm push towards another championship with Melbourne.

“The motivation is always there, but there’s definitely a sense of unfinished business,” he said.

“We all felt like we had the team to go all the way this season, so while it didn’t go our way, we’re hungry to get back out on the court and compete for a championship.”

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