The Cairns Taipans have retained Nathan Jawai on a two-year deal. The agreement will see Jawai committed to his hometown team for at least seven years of his career that began as a Cairns Basketball junior recruited from Bamaga.
Jawai remains one of the most successful products of Far North Queensland and continues to be a dominant force in the NBL as one of Australia’s most experienced and credentialed big men. In 2019-20 Jawai suited up for every game to average 8.0 points and 3.4 rebounds, while leading the team as a player-voted co-captain.
Taipans Head Coach Mike Kelly acknowledged the special loyalty between Cairns and Jawai and said that it had been rewarding to see his development over the last few years.
“I love that Nate has continued to grow in all aspects of his game, and particularly in the way that he approaches his role.
“He’s got the ability to influence a game on the floor as well as off it, and his positive influence on the team has been really important,” said Kelly.
“We want to continue to build with him and he’s really bought into this group which has been fun to watch. He’s committed to this club and I’m excited to see him have another great season in orange.”
In December, Jawai will suit up for his fifth consecutive season for the Taipans – after originally signing for three years in 2016 and then a one-year contract in 2019.
The two-year deal will keep the Queensland State Government ambassador at home potentially for the remainder of his playing career, and Jawai said that it was his ambitions for the club and for his future that were the main factors in re-signing.
“Last year was obviously really fun and really enjoyable to be part of. We have a really unique group, the chemistry was undeniable and playing under Coach Kelly just continues to get better,” said Jawai.
“I want to win a Championship for Cairns and we know last season we weren’t too far off. Now we are all just really, really motivated.”
“I owe a lot to this community and to basketball, and that is something I’ve been reflecting about a lot during this extended off-season.
“The club and I have been working on something behind-the-scenes that I cannot wait to reveal, and I’m really looking forward to what the future holds.”