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Cotton’s best still to come: Gleeson

Perth Wildcats five-time championship winning coach Trevor Gleeson feels like Bryce Cotton’s best basketball is still ahead of him, after the star point guard put pen to paper on a new three year deal with the club.

Cotton sensationally walked away from the franchise to pursue his options abroad earlier this month, before deciding to recommit to the Wildcats over the weekend for the next three seasons.

Gleeson was understandably delighted to keep his star playmaker on the books.

“It’s a great day, it’s been a very eventful last month to say the least,” Gleeson told Sports Drive on Tuesday.

“It’s been going on since COVID-19 started in February-March, but really happy to have Bryce locked in for the next three years.”

While Cotton had no shortage of suitors on the table from teams around the world, Gleeson said the Wildcats had one thing that other teams didn’t- long term security.

“Our owner Jack Bendat sent an email to Bryce thanking him for his work and thanks for the championships,” the 51 year old said.

“That opened up a line of communication, so I kind of jumped in there and said hang on, let’s talk long term. We want Bryce to be at the Wildcats for many years to come. It was really planting that seed with Bryce’s longevity and having the stabilised environment where he could play his best basketball.”

Gleeson admitted that the club couldn’t match the offers that came from elsewhere, but with a wife and young family the stability of home would work in Perth’s favour.

“I knew we had some pretty big advantages. He loves Perth, he loves the Wildcats and the Red Army,” he said.

“Having a family, being a fresh father we knew we had some of those advantages. We couldn’t compete and still can’t compete with the money that they offer in Europe and the NBA but what we can offer is that longevity of playing in one team for ten years.”

Gleeson confirmed he had been in constant dialogue with Cotton throughout the past month, before the 27 year old made the choice to re-sign on the weekend, before the re-drawn contract was approved by the league on Monday.

With his legacy at the club already assured, the Cats mentor said Cotton will take his game to even greater heights in the coming years.

“I don’t think he’s hit his peak. These next three years which is huge to sign Bryce, he’s going to be at his peak these next three years,” Gleeson said.

“History tells us that’s when professional athletes in basketball are at their best. Especially with his game, he’s constantly working on it and developing new moves. He’s very much a high talent on the basketball court with his IQ. We’re looking forward to seeing a lot of that over the next three years.”

Focus now turns to Nick Kay, who recently exited his contract with the club and whether he too would re-sign. Gleeson was bullish that the star big man would re-sign.

“We would love to have Nick back, we’ll back him either way if he wants to go and try Europe we’ll back that. We would certainly love him to join up with Bryce again next year."

IMAGE: Perth Now.


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