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DKD trades Red Army for Orange County

CAIRNS continues to shape up somewhat as “Perth Lite” with Wildcats guard Dexter Kernich-Drew the Taipans’ latest NBL signing.

Kernich-Drew, 26 and 198cm, currently is best-remembered for his incident with Adelaide 36ers captain Brendan Teys in the final second of the teams’ last regular season game in Perth last season.

Teys gave up an ugly foul on Wildcats development player Lochlan Cummings, prompting Kernich-Drew to blindside him, setting off a melee which cost the 36ers’ captain a one-game suspension and Kernich-Drew two matches on the sidelines.

Neither had any previous tribunal history, Melbourne-born Kernich-Drew joining the Wildcats in 2016 after spending from 2010-1015 at Washington State University, including a red-shirt season.

As a senior with the Cougars, he ranked sixth in the Pac-12 Conference for 3-point accuracy, shooting it at 43 percent.

His NBL career has stalled somewhat with his pigeon-holing solely as a 3-point specialist.

Last season he averaged 2.1 points at 36 percent, 0.5 rebounds and 0.3 assists in a limited capacity off the Wildcats' bench.

Currently in the SEABL with Melbourne Tigers, he is averaging 23.5 points at 48.5 percent, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

His perimeter skills unquestionably will be a huge asset for the Taipans, who already have secured point guard Jarrod Kenny and versatile forward Lucas Walker from Perth’s free agents list.

Cairns also has Nate Jawai, Alex Loughton and NZ Breakers centre/forward Rob Loe signed, along with Kuany Kuany, and now can turn its attention to its import prospects.

Suggestions Perth championship-winning backup centre and Brisbane Bullets starter Tom Jervis also is headed north seem unlikely, given new coach Mike Kelly has a fairly full and versatile frontcourt already.

Jervis returning to Perth as a backup for Angus Brandt or to Illawarra in support of AJ Ogilvy seem the far more likely scenarios.

May 10

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