Former Gladstone Power-house Ray Willis is signing with the Rockhampton Rockets for 2018.
Former Gladstone Power-house Ray Willis is signing with the Rockhampton Rockets for 2018. Mike Richards GLA040817RAYW

Rockets sign American MVP candidate

BASKETBALL: The Rockhampton Rockets have snatched up Gladstone Power's Oklahoma "energy guy”, and he isn't messing around.

There will be no slacking off or mediocrity when Ray Willis steps onto the court, but plenty of "good feelings” and "good thoughts” to bring in the results.

He will be taking charge on and off the court with an edge that will be sure to keep the rest of the players on their toes.

"I'm bringing a sense of urgency to the team,” Willis said.

"Every practice, I'm going to bring it, and I'm going to demand the same of my team-mates.

"We don't have time for mediocrity. If you're not bringing the competitive edge to every possession, whether it's a game, a training, or a morning shoot around, I'm going to be on you.

"I'm coming to Rockhampton to win, and I need that same commitment from everyone else on the team”.

After playing the past three basketball league seasons with the Gladstone Power, the American import has established himself as a key player for the CQ team, leading scorers with an average 29.5 points a game, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.

With this new signing to Rockhampton, the American professional basketballer has no plans to head back home just yet, and hopes that the improvement he has seen in his performance whilst in Central Queensland will continue to improve.

"My production has gone up each year I've been in the league,” Willis said.

"Individually I've played well, but I'm all about winning, and with the Rockets I'm confident that's something we can do a lot of.”

Beyond making a name for himself in Rockhampton's basketball dynasty, Willis wants to become involved in the Rocky community and "impact” his new home town.

"We have to make sure we're winning there too,” he said.

"My discussions with Management have been really productive in that sense.

"Their views on building a community around the basketball program align perfectly with my own”.

Super coach Neil Tweedy will be returning for his 20th season in 2018, and is expected to provide a balance of freedom and structure to the dynamic shooting guard.

"Talking with other players who have played under him, they talk about his faith in his players, and the support he gives them to make plays,” Willis said.

Obviously a renowned physical superstar on the court, his demeanour off the court is something he believes is his greatest asset and he is determined to bring out the best in his new team-mates.

Tweedy is excited about having Willis come on board for the Rockhampton Rockets' 32nd year and believes the signing is an indication of the team's future potential.

"Ray's been an MVP candidate all three seasons that he's played,” Tweedy said.

"There are few, if any players in the league who can score at his level, but he also plays both ends of the floor.

"It's no secret that a proven player like Ray is in high demand in our league, so to have him choose Rockhampton ahead of all other programs says a lot about the direction we're heading.”

Along with coaches Tweedy and Chris Muggeridge, 2017 captain James Mitchell will be returning for the next season.

The impressive line-up is a sure-fire indication of the team's dedication to bringing in the best possible candidates on and off the court.

The Rockets' pre-season will launch in January 2018.

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