Clippers Lester Ferguson tries to stop Marlins James Mitchell during the Dolphins and Sunshine Coast Phoenix Clippers at  Early Settler Stadium.PICTURE: JUSTIN BRIERTY
Clippers Lester Ferguson tries to stop Marlins James Mitchell during the Dolphins and Sunshine Coast Phoenix Clippers at Early Settler Stadium.PICTURE: JUSTIN BRIERTY Justin Brierty

ROCKETS SIGNING: Tweedy gets his man

BASKETBALL: On the eve of the QBL season, the Rockhampton Rockets have made a statement in the signing of James Mitchell from Cairns.

The versatile guard/forward will join Neal Tweedy's side after six stellar seasons at the Marlins in Queensland's north.

Following a career best year, not only did Mitchell's inspiration see Cairns claim the championship, he finished averaging 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists per game.

Despite the impressive stats, Mitchell prefers to focus on his effort and the impact he can have on his team-mates.

"I'm definitely a team guy. Because of my versatility I can play a variety of roles within the team depending on where I'm needed,” Mitchell said.

"That's always my focus. How can I contribute to the team and help lift everyone else up?”

Rockhampton finished seventh on the 2016 QBL ladder with a 9-8 record meaning Mitchell's inclusion will prove invaluable.

"The fact they valued me was massive,” he told The Cairns Post.

"I have never had a coach recruit me like that before.

"Neal saw the article in the Post a few weeks ago and he said he loved my game and remembered me playing against them in recent seasons.

"He is trying to rebuild the culture in Rockhampton and start young and get guys in that will be a part of the local community and work with their kids.”

marlins James Mitchell clears the Metors defrence during the Cairns vs Mackay in first week of QBL finals.PICTURE: JUSTIN BRIERTY
marlins James Mitchell clears the Metors defrence during the Cairns vs Mackay in first week of QBL finals.PICTURE: JUSTIN BRIERTY Justin Brierty

Tweedy himself was thrilled to get his man.

"We love the flexibility he brings as a starting point. He can impact the game in so many different ways. He really is a complete player,” Tweedy said.

"He's also a noted defender. We probably haven't been where we want to be defensively the past two seasons, so that will be a major focus this year.

"It's an area of the game in which Mitchell has a genuine passion.”

Mitchell will not only be a fantastic fit for the McDonalds Rockhampton Rockets on the court, but is also expected to be a great addition to the Rockhampton community off the court. He is currently studying Primary Teaching, and his passion for helping to empower youth whether it be through teaching, coaching, or mentoring is clear.

"To be honest I just love to connect with people. Playing sport in a regional community provides a fantastic platform to have a positive impact on the people in that community,” he said.

"It's a great honour, and something that I don't take for granted.”

Mitchell will fly in for games during the initial stages of the season before moving permanent.



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