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Eight is enough

WITH Nathan Sobey officially a 36er again, the NBL regular season champs have retained all eight of their Australian contingent from the 2016-17 season.

Sobey, 26, 191cm and the league's Most Improved Player, listed "unfinished business" among his reasons for returning but his love of the team, rapid development under coach Joey Wright and love for a city which warmly has embraced both him and his fiancee CC Rode, were of equal significance.

In fact the Warrnambool Whirlwind did not even insist on an NBA or European "out" clause in his new two-year deal, although the club would release him in a heartbeat if The Show did come calling.

It means Sobey, Mitch Creek, Daniel Johnson, Matt Hodgson, Brendan Teys, Anthony Drmic, Majok Deng and Adam Doyle all will be back in 36ers' (darker) blue for 2017-18 and looking to grow from the late slump which saw them lose six of their last seven games.

MOST IMPROVED: Nathan Sobey with fiancee CC Rode at the NBL Awards night.

Returning its complete Australian core is a first for the 36ers, the club also with another "first" in reappointing coach Joey Wright for five years.

It brings stability to the organisation, which had further appeal for Sobey.

Whether league MVP Jerome Randle returns remains conjecture. A free agent, he has been testing the waters, with the 36ers maintaining they remain "in negotiations".

But Ramone Moore has been pencilled in as a likely new face, and 2016-17 imports Terrance Ferguson (NBA-bound) and Eric Jacobsen will not be on the roster.

The door remains ajar for Randle, signing a point guard still a priority.

Big-man support for DJ and Hodgson also is a priority, with Wright looking at a "6-8 banger" to complement his roster for a championship run.

The natural improvement in many of his tyros also is a factor exciting fans heading to Titanium Security Arena next season.

But with the formula for success including the key ingredient of keeping a solid core intact, the 36ers have ticked a major box today.

Apr 4

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