Former golden boy Ervin expects bitter-sweet homecoming

BASKETBALL

He was a Hawks hero three years ago, becoming the club's first NBL MVP in 30 years.

But Adelaide 36ers dynamo Gary Ervin won't be feeling all warm and fuzzy about his Wollongong "homecoming" on Sunday at WIN Entertainment Centre.

After playing in Ukraine in 2012, Ervin returned to Australia last season, joining the Townsville Crocodiles.

The 30-year-old guard left the Hawks on good terms and didn't appreciate being greeted by a smattering of boos when he returned to Wollongong with the Crocs last year.

"For me coming back to Wollongong, a place where I started my career in Australia . . . at the same time I also got booed there, so it's one of those things where you go there with mixed feelings," Ervin said.

"We need this just as desperate as they do. We have to prepare for a big game on Sunday."

Adelaide finished last for the past three years and haven't played a home final for 10 years.

That appears certain to change this season. The Sixers have won 13 of 19 games and are probably the only team with a genuine shot at beating title favourites Perth.

Ervin hit his second buzzer-beating game winner of the season last week against Cairns and is on a mission to bring the championship back to Adelaide.

"You can go up and down our whole roster and, top to bottom, we've got the best team in the league.

"Obviously there's a lot of talk about Perth," he said.

"They're at the top of the ladder every year since I've been here.

"They're a great team, but as great as they've been playing all year, they're still just one game in the loss column in front of us.

"We're setting our own goals and taking it one game at a time. As long as we control what we're doing and win the games we should win, we'll be right in position at the end of the year."

Ervin is a contender for league MVP honours, although the favourites are Perth's James Ennis and Melbourne's Chris Goulding.

"My biggest goal is to turn Adelaide from a last-place team into a first-place team," he said.

"Whoever wins MVP, congratulations. I want to win a championship."

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