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Sixers say Grace and steal a son

ADELAIDE 36ers have lured Jerami Grace, the son of Perth Wildcats superstar Ricky, to South Australia to join the club's NBL roster as a training player.

Widely and wisely regarded among the Wildcats' all-time greats and a Boomers Olympian at Sydney 2000 after he naturalised, Ricky is a four-time NBL champion and dual Larry Sengstock Medallist as Grand Final Series MVP.

That potentially would be a huge shadow and anchor for Perth-born Jerami to bear, similar to the situation Cody Ellis faced when returning from college in the US.

The son of Mike Ellis, another Wildcats' legend, Cody chose instead to ply his trade at Sydney Kings and Illawarra Hawks, averting unnecessary comparisons.

And Cody is a combo forward while Mike was a combo guard.

Jerami is a 192cm playmaker and his father is regarded as the Wildcats' greatest player to fill that role. Comparisons would be inevitable.

Ricky was a 185cm left-handed dynamo who dominated the league as few before or since and had some of his biggest games at the Clipsal Powerhouse-Distinctive Homes Dome-Titanium Security Arena against the 36ers.

Starting his college basketball journey at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, Jerami continued at Murray State University, then Arkansas Tech before playing his senior year with Langston University in Oklahoma.

He has been rocking the WA SBL since his return.

"I'm just really happy to be home," he told the Mandurah Mail's Justin Rake.

"For me, it's just cool to be back here, and seeing some familiar faces and places definitely makes it easier to transition back into basketball here."

At 25, Grace is too old for a development player contract but in a train-on role, will remain under the watchful eye of 36ers coach Joey Wright.

The son of the Hall of Famer continues a break in Perth traditions of family connections beginning their careers at the Wildcats, a tradition started with the late Gordon Ellis - Cody's grandfather - coaching and his sons playing there.

Rick Longley played for Perth in 1982, sons Luc in 1986 and Griff in 1992 also with Wildcats matches under their belts.

Past player, playing-coach and championship coach Cal Bruton led the rebirth of the club in 1987 - it hasn't missed a playoff series since - and his son CJ debuted as a Perth Wildcat.

Bruton recruited Ricky Grace to the Wildcats. While Jerami Grace is not in the "Next Stars" category, his presence amid the 36ers' squad is sure to bring further competitiveness to Wright's group. 

Meanwhile Perth retaining star imports and Larry Sengstock Medallists Bryce Cotton and Terrico White means it again will be in the championship hunt, while likely dismissed and dissed until it's too late by the eastern states "experts".

Aug 1

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