Mitch Creek has put his NBA dreams on hold to return to Australia to lead South East Melbourne Phoenix in their inaugural NBL season.
The 27-year-old forward was the Phoenix's first signing late last year but it was dependent on him chasing a full-time NBA contract after spending time with Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Despite attracting interest during the NBA Summer League, Creek's future was still uncertain prompting his decision to take up his place on the Phoenix roster for the 2019-20 season
"I'm really excited to get back to Melbourne and start preparing for the NBL season," Creek said.
"The Phoenix have been really supportive of me the last few months, I couldn't have asked for more, and I'm more than going to repay the favour."
He said he still hadn't given up on playing in the NBA and may head back to the USA at the end of the Australian domestic season.
"I did everything humanly possible to make my NBA dream come true and have no regrets," Creek said.
"Knowing all that I can live with the results."
Creek made his NBL debut in 2010 with the Adelaide 36ers and as captain led them to the losing 2018 grand final against Melbourne United, and was the leading rebounder in the series with 8.7 per game.
Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell said he was excited Creek would be available to lead the side.
"Mitch was the club's first signing and it was an obvious choice as he embodies everything we want this club to stand for, honesty, hard work, selflessness and passion," Mitchell said.
"On top of this, he is a hell of basketballer who allows everyone to walk a little taller in his presence."
The Phoenix still have an import slot and a roster spot open.
South East Melbourne Phoenix roster: Deng Acouth, Kyle Adnam, Terry Armstrong, Mitch Creek, Adam Gibson, Ben Madgen, Dane Pineau, John Roberson, Kendall Stephens, Daniel Trist, Tai Wesley.
Australian Associated Press