Gary Ervin returning to Hawks

Hawks import Gary Ervin in 2010. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Hawks import Gary Ervin in 2010. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

BASKETBALL

Basketball nomad Gary Ervin is heading back to his old stomping ground after signing a one-year contract with the Wollongong Hawks.

Ervin starred with the Hawks in the 2010-11 season, becoming the club’s first NBL MVP in 30 years and averaging a league-best 20.1 points per game.

After playing the next two years in Venezuela and Ukraine, he returned to Australia to link with Townsville.

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Last season the 180cm guard filled one of Adelaide’s import spots, helping the 36ers to their first grand final appearance in 12 years.

He was one of the league’s most productive players with averages of 16 points and 4.5 assists over 31 games.

But the 30-year-old didn’t fit into the Sixers’ plans for the 2014-15 season, allowing Wollongong to sign him as a free agent.

Ervin’s return to the Hawks’ nest will help fill the gaping hole in the backcourt created by the departure of last season’s starting guards Rhys Martin and Rotnei Clarke.

Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod is excited to have Ervin back.

‘‘It’s a great acquisition for our club,’’ McLeod said.

‘‘We felt we needed someone who had played in the league and who had proven themselves in the league, and he was the outstanding candidate in that situation.

‘‘Someone of Gary’s experience being available, for us to get back to the club is obviously a fantastic coup for us. He’s been at the club before, he knows Wollongong, he knows our system, even though it’s evolved a fair bit. He knows his teammates and we felt that was an important thing, especially when he’s going to be running the team and point guard spot.’’

A typically feisty Ervin tweeted that he was looking forward to returning to Wollongong.

‘‘This will be a season to remember, bet that, blessed and hungry. Every time a fan says something disrespectful I’m taking out on ur point guard.’’

Hawks captain Oscar Forman welcomed Ervin back.

‘‘Gary was a good fit for this team a few years ago and I expect he’ll still be a good fit,’’ Forman said.

‘‘He knows the league well and knows exactly what sort of a good club he’s coming to. I’m sure he’d be very excited about coming back. Our roster is shaping up nicely.’’

Ervin is in America and will arrive in Wollongong in three weeks.

Hawks owner James Spenceley believes he has secured a prize recruit.

‘‘Gary is one of the most exciting players the Hawks have seen in recent years and he was at the top of both mine and Gordie’s list since the proposed ownership change was announced,’’ Spenceley said.

‘‘Gary adds a real flare on court, something that everyone really got behind when he was last here. I’m excited to see what the pairing of Gordie and Gary will produce the second time around.

‘‘Gary’s signing is not the end of the big news. We’ve got some more exciting news to come.’’

The Hawks have filled seven spots on their 10-man roster, including Ervin, Forman, Larry Davidson, Tim Coenraad, Brad Hill, Adam Ballinger and Dave Gruber.

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