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Law Grabs Second Opportunity with Cotton as he Revels with Life in Perth

Written for nbl.com.au by Chris Pike

Vic Law went ever so close to being a teammate to Bryce Cotton at college so didn’t want to miss the second chance at the Perth Wildcats as he prepares to face the Brisbane Bullets for the first time while in the best place mentally and physically he has ever been.

Fresh off playing at the NBA bubble during 2020 for the Orlando Magic, Law ventured down under for the first time to play with the Brisbane Bullets last season and he took the NBL by storm in the opening 17 matches.

He proved match-winner for the Bullets on multiple occasions averaging 17.7 points and 7.8 rebounds but then his season ended with a foot injury and he had a lot of thinking to do about what his future held.

What the 25-year-old Chicago native knew was that he wanted to remain in the NBL both because of the level of basketball but also because of the faith he had in the medical, and strength and conditioning staffs, across the league to get him back to full health.

The only question was where he played and when the Perth Wildcats came calling with the prospect of joining up with Bryce Cotton at a club that has reached the playoffs 35 consecutive seasons, the decision soon became a no-brainer for Law.

And as it turns out, it's the second time that Law has been recruited by a club providing the chance to play alongside Cotton. The first time came with Law fresh out of high school where he was being heavily recruited by plenty of big schools.

One of them was Providence College where Cotton was at the time. Ultimately Law went to Northwestern and the rest is history, but he was never going to turn up the second opportunity to play alongside Cotton.

And two games into their partnership with the Wildcats and you can see why. In Game 1 last Friday, Law was unstoppable with 37 points against the Adelaide 36ers. Then on Sunday with the Cairns Taipans locking down on Law, Cotton took over with a match-winning 31 points.

"I thought right away we kind of felt some chemistry there together off the bat just by hanging out, and getting to know one another," Law said.

"It was actually funny because interestingly enough the college that he went to, Providence, recruited me pretty heavily when I was coming out of high school and Bryce was meant to be my host when I visited there. So it just shows what a small world it is and it's kind of funny how it all works out."

Playing alongside Cotton was only one of the reasons why Law decided to head to Perth though.

Worried about his comeback from the foot injury, he wanted to be somewhere that would give him the best support to get his body in tip top shape for this #NBL22 season on top of knowing playing in the NBL was something he wanted to continue to do.

"I thought the Australian league was great straight away last year for a number of reasons. I thought it really had its benefits to be part of them and one of them is that the season isn’t too long so it doesn’t wear your body down too much which is really helpful," Law said.

"For me personally, getting my health back together after the injury with my foot that was a big factor in coming back here. But also I just really wanted to make sure I was in the best health of my life for this season. 

"And to do that, I knew the NBL had really good physios and medical staff, and Perth were familiar with the injury I was coming back from so I was happy to come back to the league, and to join a team like the Wildcats for everything they provide."

There will be a lot made this week of Law coming up against the Bullets for the first time when his new Wildcats team host them on Sunday at RAC Arena.

The Bullets are in Perth already for back-to-back games this Sunday and then next Friday, and while there might have been some barbs thrown across the country with Law and his ex-teammates, it's all been largely in good fun.

Law is actually looking forward to catching up with them while they are in Perth, but once they hit the floor on Sunday, and next Friday, it's all business.

"I feel really good, I feel confident and as a team I think we are really shaping up into form. I think one of the greatest feelings I had in coming back to Australia was being able to see my old Brisbane teammates," Law said.

"I'm pretty excited that we had that reunion and now it's just all business at this point. I think it will be really nice to have them in Perth for almost two weeks so I'm sure we'll get dinner at some point and relax, but once you get on the court it's all business. Then after that we can go back to being the best of mates."

The Wildcats have their first five games at RAC Arena this season and then beyond that don't know when they will be able play in front of the Red Army again.

As a result, Law is looking to help the 'Cats make the most of the start at home and things couldn’t have opened up better after wins over the 36ers and Taipans last weekend.

"It's really important we make the most of these home games. You really just have to control what you can control, and handle business, and our focus is all on these first five whole games," Law said.

"It's even more important now that we make sure that we come out ready to go for each game and then we can worry about going on the road.

"I was really thrilled with how the guys are playing to start the season. In the NBL, it's not too often that you have a quick turnaround for games like that so I'm really happy with how the boys played in both games. 

"Especially when we've been down a couple of bodies, it could have been easy for us to use the excuses of that but we handled things well and we had a couple of DP's who really came to play. So I couldn’t have been happier with how things started."

Last Friday night for the season opener against the Sixers provided Law the first chance to play at RAC Arena as well and it immediately took him back to the college atmosphere he loved so much.

"I played in the Big 10 and just being out there with how loud they are and how excited the fans are about the whole experience just reminded me of the whole college atmosphere," he said.

"They have that crazy passion and I think the fans at RAC Arena and of the Perth Wildcats do just an absolutely great job of giving us energy. I never got to play here last year so I didn’t really understand as much but I definitely know now how big of a deal it is after those two first games. I'm definitely excited that I'm able to be here."

While Law has enjoyed his move down under and settled well into life in Perth, he is missing being back home in Chicago and his family back home, especially at this time of the year with Thanksgiving just passed, his birthday coming up and then Christmas.

However, he'll take the hot Perth weather over the wintry freezing snow and wind back in Chicago any day.

"I'm from Chicago and it's freezing cold there right now and Perth is extremely hot so I'm happy to be on this end of it. It's about 20 degrees back home right now and the snow is feeling, and it's too cold for me so I'm glad I'm out here," Law said.

"I definitely am missing home. I've got a birthday coming up on the 19th and obviously it's holiday season so this is a big family time and I have a tight-knit family back home so you miss them at times like this more than ever. 

"But this is what they kind of prepared me for growing up to get out of the nest and to make a life for myself, and right now in terms of my development as a basketball player and as a man, getting comfortable being away from my family is something I'm getting used to. 

"To be honest, the Wildcats too have made a great job making me feel at home being part of the team and not just feeling alone out here. I'm really happy about that."

Another benefit of being in Perth for Law has been the chance to work on his golf game, especially with development player Kyle Zunic's older brother Jordan a current member of the PGA Tour of Australasia.

"I have been playing a bit of golf. I did play a little bit back in America, but I've been getting more into since I've been here," Law added.

"One of my teammates, Kyle Zunic, has a brother who is a professional golfer so we like to get out there and get some pointers here and there. Right now I'm just trying to make sure my swing and everything is right, and this week we got out on the course and played a proper game and got off the driving range."

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