Jawai heading back to Cairns for 2017
After being a cognitive part of the successful Perth Wildcats championship season in the 2015/16 NBL season, Nathan Jawai has made the decision to return to home to his first ever professional club in the Cairns Taipans on a three year deal.
Jawai played for the Snakes in the 2007/08 season when claiming the league's Rookie of the Year award, averaging 17.3ppg and 9.4rpg before.
Jawai's second stint with the Taipans will also include off-court involvements, as the club announced that Jawai will 'assume the role of ambassador for the Cairns Taipans Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Initiative, an expansion of the club’s existing Sea Swift Taipans Indigenous Programme, in conjunction with the Queensland Government.'
A career which has taken Jawai the world over, spanning nearly ten years which has included national duties with the Boomers, NBA experience with the Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves, plus a number of European countries having had to call home, the 6ft10 centre is now looking forward to playing for the team and coach where it all began.
“I’m excited to be back, and I’m looking forward to showing the Orange Army how much I’ve improved since I last played for them,” Jawai said in the Taipans release.
“Working with ‘Fearnie’ was one of the main reasons for my return; he’s been a mentor for me throughout my whole career.”
“He’s holding me to a huge responsibility with this team and I’m looking forward to that pressure.”
Club CEO Mark Beecroft not only looked at his player's on-court responsibilities, but has also set out a contract which will secure his players long term opportunities surrounding 'life after basketball'.
“Nathan’s return is not only about recruiting one of our homegrown basketball stars back to the Taipans, but an opportunity for him to give back to Indigenous communities in the region,” Beecroft ensured.
“This is a long-term arrangement that will also offer employment opportunities to Nathan once his playing career has finished.”
Jawai will now train with Taipans head coach Aaron Fearne in relation to the upcoming Australian Boomers camp in July in preparation for the Rio Olympic Games. He was recently announced in the 17-man Boomers squad.
For an up-to-date list of NBL rosters and remaining free agents (notable names), check out The Pick and Roll's Free Agency Tracker.