Xavier Johnson-Blount can't wait to pull on the green jersey and run out for Warrnambool against Shepparton at the Arc on Saturday night.
The 28-year-old American import, who won a Big V basketball championship with the Seahawks in 2016, played three seasons for Warrnambool before calling time at the end of last season.
Just over a week ago, Johnson-Blount was working "eight to eight" as a product specialist for Honda in Seattle, while staying fit by playing tournaments at the Washington Athletic Club.
But the shooting guard, originally from Virginia Beach, soon felt the pull to come back to south-west Victoria and complete his naturalisation process, which led to the Seahawks releasing former import Aaron Harrison from his contract to make room on the roster.
"I had a great job and a close-knit family, but when the opportunity to become an Aussie and fully experience Warrnambool came up I just jumped," he said.
"This place is just as home for me as the US. The culture here is so sarcastic and funny, I love it.
"And playing basketball for this town is so much than being an import, you play for the community.
"The way everyone welcomed me, I feel like I've got to bust my tail to give back. But there's a lot more than the sport here, which really led to the decision to come out here and establish a life."
The Seahawks have been hampered by injury in 2019, with a 3-4 record leaving them ninth in the 13-side competition. But Johnson-Blount said helping some of his championship teammates Tim Gainey, Alex Gynes, Josh Dean and Ollie Bidmade make finals would mean "everything" to him.
"Those guys are like brothers to me," he said. "I'm glad I got the opportunity to suit up with them again."
Growing up Johnson-Blount idolised 11-time NBA All Star Allen Iverson, also from Virginia.
"That was big to see Iverson come out of the home team," he said. "It gave me motivation to know you can make it can outside of where you grew up."
The multiple Big V All Star briefly followed the New York Knicks, who at the time boasted Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith, Tyson Chandley and Landry Fields.
Now an Oklahoma City Thunder fan, Johnson-Blount's favourite player these days is Paul George.
"It used to be Carmelo," he said. "The dude is an offensive monster, but he's slowing down."
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