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Jerome Randle set for return to the 36ers
Jerome Randle is back.
In a major boon for the NBL and the Adelaide 36ers, the dynamic American import will be returning to our shores for season 2016-17.
The 36ers will officially announce the re-signing of Randle in a media conference scheduled for 10am this morning in Adelaide.
Whilst exact terms of the deal are yet to be released, 36ers coach, Joey Wright did reveal to Boti Nagy that it was a one-year deal.
“It’s a one-year deal and I have to give credit to the (36ers) board for pulling the resources together to get this done,” Wright said.
As reported by Boti Nagy, the return of Randle gives the 36ers a formidable core that already includes local talents such as Daniel Johnson, Andrew Petrie, Matt Hodgson and Mitch Creek.
The flashy point guard had an historic season for the 36ers, becoming the first ever 36er to lead the league in scoring, at 23 points-per-game. His scintillating performances led to some putting him within the company of the greatest ever imports to grace the NBL.
Randle also finished third in the NBL MVP race, and took out the Australia Post Fans MVP Award, as voted online by the fans, a testament to his league-wide popularity.
His return guarantees another drawcard for the 36ers, and the league, at large. A hugely popular figure, thanks to his electrifying style of play, Randle also seems to genuinely enjoy playing in Adelaide.
He has previously said of Adelaide, “You guys are the best fans and I am honored to say I have played for the Adelaide 36ers.”
The 36ers now turn their attention towards fleshing out their roster for season 2016-17. With the league set to introduce new rule changes for roster construction, including an additional import spot, a mad scramble will be on to secure the best available talent.
Teams are only able to negotiate and sign free agents from rival clubs two weeks after the conclusion of the grand final series.
Rival clubs will be circling the 36ers own free agents, with the likes of Lucas Walker and club captain, Adam Gibson, both eligible for new deals. Walker has indicated that he is keen to stay a 36er, but there’s more uncertainty surrounding “Gibbo”, who has had a disappointing season.
Calling this the “least enjoyable” season of his career, there’s a real possibility that Gibson explores his options. There are already strong rumblings that a return to the Brisbane Bullets looms.
The possible departure of Gibson is smoothed somewhat by the re-signing of Randle. He’ll also be ably supported in the backcourt by the tough-as-nails duo of Brendan Teys and Nathan Sobey.
As constructed, a key focus of the 36ers should be to add some depth on the wings, and probably to sign one more ballhander. With the onset of new rules, talent will be at a premium, and some big names will be up for grabs. An anticipated free agent frenzy promises to be one of the more intriguing off-seasons in memory.
But despite the certainty of a crazy off-season, the 36ers have started off on the right note. The return of Jerome Randle can only help the 36ers -- on the court, and also as the ultimate recruitment tool.