THE Perth Wildcats have signed West Australian youngster Rhys Vague to its playing roster for the next two years.
While 2018-19 will be Vague’s first season as a fully contracted player, the 22-year-old is already a two-time champion with the club, having been a development player since the 2014-15 season and has notched up 20 appearances.
Vague said he’s come a long way since turning up to development player trials as a hopeful 18-year-old four years ago.
“It’s extremely exciting, just to be able to play for the club that I idolised growing up. It’s really a dream come true for me,” he said.
“It was surreal just finding out. Having gone through three-and-half-years of being a (development player) and starting at a young age makes me feel like I’m older and like I’ve been going around for a while, so it was a bit of a relief as well.
“In saying all that, I’ve got my foot in the door now, but there’s still a long way to go. Both with development and cracking rotations and trying to fully get the best out of myself.
“The hard work really begins now.”
Vague played his junior basketball with Cockburn Cougars before making his SBL debut with the club at 16 years old.
He moved to East Perth Eagles in 2015 for two seasons and in 2017 he represented Stirling.
The sharp-shooting forward averaged 18.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game for the Senators last season.
This winter, he’s made the move to the SEABL and at the weekend drained 33 points and grabbed eight rebounds on debut for the Dandenong Rangers.
On top of his local achievements, Vague also had the honour of representing Australia at the 2017 World University Games in Taipei and pulled on the green and gold at under-19 level.
Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson said it was rewarding to see a young athlete work hard and achieve a long-term goal.
“It’s a credit to Rhys. He’s transformed himself in the time he’s come through our junior program. We’re very proud to offer a pathway to the NBL and he’s done all the hard work to get that spot,” he said.
“We could always see his potential and his talent has really started to shine through over the last 12 months. He’s gone to another level and he’s going to be an asset to us.
“His strength out there is he stretches the floor. He has deep three-point range and he has plenty of length so he can help us on the glass. His debut performance in the SEABL showed what he’s capable of.”
The 206cm Vague joins Damian Martin, Angus Brandt, Jesse Wagstaff and Clint Steindl as contracted Perth Wildcats players for the 2018-19 season.