Two-time NBL champ joins Phoenix
TWO-time NBL champion Tai Wesley has inked a three-year deal with expansion team South East Melbourne Phoenix.
Wesley, 33, who moved to New Zealand Breakers last season after helping Melbourne United win the 2017-18 NBL title, will partner explosive forward Mitch Creek, veteran scoring machine Ben Madgen and young gun Chima Moneke, as the first of three Phoenix imports.
Wesley recorded career-high numbers for points (14.4) and assists (3.5) at the Breakers last season.
But the 33 year-old's toughness and presence on the floor was as much a consideration for the Phoenix as Wesley's ability to create off the dribble and attack the glass.
Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell praised Wesley's continued development in the league.
"He gives us a focal point in the low-post offensively and I love how his game has continued to develop and evolve as a playmaker from the high post and perimeter," Mitchell said.
"He is a player you want in the trenches. We saw in the playoffs this year with (Tom) Jervis and (Jesse) Wagstaff - the importance of toughness, guys with a little steel who are prepared to make a stand and set the tone.
"On top of Tai's obvious talents, we get another guy who brings championship toughness and that will be key as we establish the Phoenix identity."
Wesley will be familiar with Mitchell's style, having spent two seasons at United where the rookie head coach assisted Dean Vickerman.
"I can't wait to get back to Melbourne!" Wesley said.
"My family and I love it there and are excited to get involved with the basketball community in the South East.
"There seems to be a real energy around the club and I'm loving what Simon and his team is putting together."