Hungry Jack's NBL
Perth Signing's Big Wrap For Cotton
Bryce Cotton - it's a name Perth import TaShawn Thomas won't forget any time soon.
The three-time NBL MVP has been the Wildcats’ marquee man for five years, and his new teammate can’t wait to line up alongside him.
“Every time I was asked about Perth (during the scouting process), the one person I heard was Bryce Cotton,” Thomas said.
“Just to hear that every time I brought up the team name, it made me excited that there’s going to be a player that I can depend on, and hopefully he can depend on me.
“It brings a certain kind of responsibility knowing that there’s another person that’s bringing, every day.”
Also capturing the attention of the Wildcats’ new man, Luke Travers, who impressed at the recent NBA Summer League.
“Once I told my friends that I was interested in Perth, a lot of them watching Summer League were reaching out to me about him (Travers),” Thomas said.
“I’m just hoping that we can gel … get the season going and hit the road with a positive energy.”
Thomas comes to Australia with an impressive résumé himself, most recently named an All-Star and a member of the LNB Pro All-First Team, while representing French club Le Mans.
He’s got big shoes to fill, following the departure of some key imports, but the 29-year-old is up for the challenge.
At 203 centimetres and 105 kilograms, he boasts a commanding presence at both ends of the court.
“My number one focus point is really to make the best play to try to get the team going,” the exciting forward said.
“I’m big on trying to change the momentum in a game.”
Thomas is a proven scorer, but it’s his defensive game that perhaps appealed to the Wildcats most.
“One thing that impressed me is, TaShawn played for a coach in Israel who demanded effort at the defensive end, and he was rewarded with Defensive Player of the Year,” coach John Rillie said.
“I think coach made that pretty clear. He kept on asking me questions about my versatility on the defensive end and for me, it wasn't a problem. He wants me to come in with that defensive mindset,” Thomas added.
Following stints in Germany, Italy, Israel, and France, the American will aim to take Perth back to the finals – a record-breaking 35-year run coming to an end last season.
“As well as the dunks and blocks, I think the Red Army will buy in to the intensity he’ll (Thomas) bring at the defensive end,” Rillie added.
Thomas is set to arrive in Australia in the next three weeks, just in time for the club’s first pre-season games.