WE all knew he could score, but it was Tyler Harvey's other qualities that prompted Illawarra to make the 27-year-old its foundational chip for the next three seasons.
The Eastern Washington Eagles alum was a revelation in his first season in Australia, averaging 20 points and three assists as he spearheaded the Hawks return to the playoffs for the first time in four years.
It saw him finish second behind Bryce Cotton in MVP voting and he did it largely without another marquee piece, with Deng Adel underwhelming and Cam Bairstow spending little time on the floor due to injury.
As far as ability on the floor, it was a no-brainer, but club president and co-owner Dorry Kordahi said character is most important on a long-term outlay.
"Having Tyler come back on a three-year deal, you can't hide the fact he's going to be our centrepiece and we're building our club around him," Kordahi said.
"We wouldn't have invested three years into Tyler if we didn't believe in that. For us, if you perform great on the court and don't have the values off the court of buying into the community, that's something that's harder to invest long-term in. He's shown all those key qualities.
"Brian [Goorjian's] spoken all season about building culture and Tyler's a person off the court who's been a leader, he's been a fantastic guy to be around. that's an important mix when you're looking to build a long-term partnership.
"We've put a lot of trust in him but he's put a lot of trust in the club and what we're building."
It's a giant leap of faith for both parties but, more than that, the fact the club is even in a position to lock the California native down long-term shows how things have changed in Wollongong.
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As fans know too well, Harvey would almost certainly be playing elsewhere next season at any other point in the foundation club's history. The club's last three league MVP's, Kevin Lisch, Rotnei Clarke and Gary Ervin, all departed the season after claiming the league's top honour in Wollongong.
Same deal with 2018-19 MVP runner-up Demitrius Conger. Even club legend and jersey retiree Melvin Thomas was lured away at his peak by the Kings on a lucrative three-year deal before seeing out his stellar career at the Sandpit.
That is something the club's ownership group was out to change.
"We know in the past this club has always lost great players to bigger-town teams so we hope our fans and the Illawarra community realise now that we're investing in this club and investing in the quality of players we have," Kordahi said.
"When we first came on board with this ownership, we said from the get-go, we are serious about building a successful club and a club that's going to be respected around the league.
"Bringing Tyler back when he was definitely a sought-after commodity within the NBL with the breakout season he had last year... we are serious about building a winning organisation."
With two more import slots available, Kordahi said the club remains in discussions with reigning NBL Defensive Player of the Year Justin Simon, but recruiting a pure point-guard is top of the priority list.
"For us it's about building a team that can support Tyler and we're definitely looking at a solid point-guard," Kordahi said.
"Tyler's been fantastic playing at the one, but we know his strength is off the ball. There'll be a lot of talent freed up overseas in the coming weeks and our primary goal is getting a solid point-guard.
"We've spoken with Justin's agent as well. He was massive in our success and won us a lot of games off the back of his defence.
"We've got time now to see what's out there, we've got Summer League coming up in August, and it's just about getting the right pieces."
It's understood the club has also reached in-principle agreement with Duop Reath, currently in Boomers camp under Goorjian, but a formal deal is yet to be inked.