You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Wildcat Bryce Cotton set for NBA return

NZN 5/03/2017 Justin Chadwick

Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson concedes there's almost no hope of retaining Bryce Cotton next season, predicting the star import will be picked up by an NBA club.

Cotton produced one of the finest displays ever seen in NBL ranks to guide the Perth Wildcats to their eighth title on Sunday.

The 24-year-old drained 45 points, including seven triples, to be awarded MVP of the grand final series.

Cotton only arrived at the Wildcats in January after the club axed Jaron Johnson for a second time.

The move proved to be a masterstroke, with Cotton helping lift the club from wooden spoon contenders into champions.

Cotton has played in the NBA before, spending stints with Utah, Phoenix, and Memphis.

He was also offered a 10-day contract with the Atlanta Hawks in January, but turned it down so he could see out the season with the Wildcats.

"We'd love to have him back, but I don't think he's coming back," Gleeson said.

"I think his place is in the NBA. He's a Patty Mills kind of player - to come off the bench and energise.

"I'd be surprised if there's not a couple of knocks on the door real soon."

Gleeson praised Cotton for his unselfish nature, saying the American's decision to turn down the NBA contract with Atlanta was proof of commitment to the cause.

Along with Cotton, the Wildcats may also lose import Casey Prather.

Prather finished second in the league MVP award this season, but harbours dreams of playing in the NBA.

One player who definitely won't be at the Wildcats next season is veteran Shawn Redhage, who retired following the 3-0 grand final clean sweep.

The title triumph was Redhage's fourth, and it's the first time the club has won back-to-back titles since 1990-91.

Only Sydney and New Zealand have won three titles in a row, but Gleeson isn't thinking about a three-peat for the Wildcats just yet.

"I'm thinking about a shave," Gleeson joked, in reference to the beards all Wildcats players and coaches agreed to grow during the play-off series.

Skipper Damian Martin said the tradition stretched back several years, and was widely embraced by the club.

"And there's some horrible attempts," Martin said with a laugh.

"I know mine looks dreadful. But Jarrod Kenny - I don't know what's going on there. He has about four hairs that have popped up.

"There'll be a lot of happy wives and girlfriends when we shave these off.

"Everyone buys into it. It brings us closer together. We have a bit of a laugh about it.

"And in the next few days, we'll show up with some freshly-shaved guys."

Redhage said it was a dream come true to bow out with another championship.

"It's something I'll cherish for the rest of my life," Redhage said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon