ILLAWARRA look set to replace one league MVP with another with former Hawks star Rotnei Clarke to re-join the club for the upcoming season.
The Mercury understands the 26-year-old – who was previously linked to a return to the Hawks prior to last season – has already to agreed in principle to return to Wollongong with the club set to confirm the deal in the coming days.
The diminutive three-point ace quickly became a fan-favourite in his last stint in Wollongong, spearheading the Hawks play-offs charge under Gordie McLeod with 21 points and 3.5 assists per game.
He also shot at a tidy 40 per cent from three-point range en route to being named the 2013-14 NBL MVP with McLeod also named Coach of the Year that season.
"I could definitely see myself coming back to Australia," Clarke said at the time.
“It is an awesome place to live and with me being married in June , it is going to be a great place, if I was to come back, for me and my wife.”
Clarke has since married wife Patricia who has given birth to 10-month old daughter Kyah.
The acquisition of the University of Arkansas alum is a huge coup for the Hawks and will go a long way to filling the void left by the departure of reigning MVP Kevin Lisch to arch-rivals the Sydney Kings.
Clarke would join a back-court that already includes the returning Rhys Martin and Kevin White and fellow recruit Mitch Norton currently in China with the NBL All-Stars.
It will bring the Hawks roster to eight players alongside AJ Ogilvy, Oscar Forman and Cody Ellis returning and reigning NBL Rookie of the Year Nick Kay also set to join Rob Beveridge’s squad.
It leaves three remaining roster positions to be filled with two import slots still open with the club looking for an import swingman to complement Clarke.
Clarke has spent the past two seasons with Okapi Aalstar in Belgium and Telekom Baskets Bonn in Germany.