Former Perth Wildcats import Devondrick Walker has revealed a determination to utilise Greg Hire’s mental health skills outweighed his desire to play in the same state as close friend Bryce Cotton after winning the NB1West Men’s MVP award on Saturday night.
Walker dominated the competition while playing for Rockingham, averaging 27 points across 21 games. But it was his 110 three-pointers while shooting at 46 per cent which made him such a massive weapon.
The American signed with the Wildcats for the 2017/18 season but a serious foot injury meant he never played a game. He played for South East Melbourne Phoenix in 2020 before his career took him to New Zealand and Latvia.
He said Latvia’s harsh winter took a mental toll on him and he was keen to rejuvenate his life and career in Perth.
“I didn’t have my family with me in Latvia and they were long and dark days. It was only a couple of hours of daylight,” Walker explained.
“That put me in a dark place mentally. I knew Greg was doing such a great job at A Stitch In Time and he was a guy I needed to talk to.
“So I messaged him and asked if Rockingham had a spot for me. I’d been to Perth in 2017 and I wanted to de-compress and go to a place I knew would have good weather, good people and good energy.
“I’ve been around the globe for 10 years and I know what makes me happy. Greg helped me to make sure my mental state was right and I’m thankful for him.”
Warwick Senators star Stacey Barr won her second Women’s MVP award after averaging 25 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game. Barr said her efforts typified a team which finished on top of the ladder with an 18-2 record
“We have so many players around me who have had such great seasons so other teams can’t just lock in on one person. It’s nice to win it when we’re going well,” Barr said.
“There are six or seven players in our team who can score in double figures and that makes a huge difference.
“It’s nice to be having success as a team. The biggest thing now is making all of this count during finals.”
Meanwhile, Perth Wildcats have recognised the efforts of their New Zealand affiliate, Otago Nuggets, winning the NZNBL championship by inviting 21-year-old Jack Andrew to trial with the team.
The Wildcats and Nuggets are both owned by Sports Entertainment Group and some staff work for both clubs, including General Manager of Basketball Danny Mills and Development Coach Keegan Crawford.
“It’s going to be a really good feeder program,” Mills said.
“There’s definitely a pathway. We’ve had Keegan go over as an assistant coach and now we’ve got one of their players coming over for a trial.”