With just over a week before official pre-season training begins, the Perth Wildcats have filled its 11-man playing roster.
It’s a largely unchanged line-up from the one that claimed the 2017 NBL Championship.
Club legend Shawn Redhage retired after 380 games for the club.
Filling a similar position on the roster will be NBL veteran Lucas Walker who was confirmed early in the off-season.
Walker will fit right in after spending the entire 2016/17 season training with the side.
That left just three roster spots left to fill, and as head coach Trevor Gleeson explains, Wildcats recruiters had a successful trip to the NBA Summer League.
“I’ve been going to Vegas since 2000 and I’ve never come back signing three guys in such a short period of time, so it was probably the most successful trip we’ve had and now we have to make sure we’re looking good on the floor come December and January.”
The biggest player signing story of the off-season was the return of 2017 Grand Final MVP, Bryce Cotton.
“He had big offers from Europe. We saw him in the Summer League, so I thought I’d just ask him – what are the chances of coming back? And he kind of said yes!” said Gleeson.
“So things moved pretty swiftly there. He’s taken a financial hit to come back to Australia, but he said it’s the best place he’s ever played and hopefully we’ll see him for a couple of years.”
After the disappointing news that Casey Prather wouldn’t be coming back to Perth, fans were delighted to hear that NBA G-League Most Improved Player Devondrick Walker would fill the athletic wing position.
“He’s a great perimeter shooter, he’s got energy, he’s very charismatic, he’ll be a great injection.”
To complete the roster earlier this week, the Wildcats picked up athletic forward Derek Cooke Jr.
“We really wanted someone who is athletic, a defender, who will get out there and finish above the rim and you would have seen his highlights,” said Gleeson.
“He’s a workhorse, big and strong, we think he’s a great fit for our team. He’ll compliment Bryce and Devondrick.”
While pleased with the roster he’s built, Gleeson knows there’s a lot more work ahead of his group if it’s to challenge for a third-straight title.
“To win a championship you have to have the team rolling at the right time of the year, healthy at the right time of the year,” he said.
“We feel we have a team that if we’re healthy and playing a good brand, we’ll be up there challenging again.”
The Perth Wildcats season tips of on 7 October at Perth Arena.