RE-SIGNED: Ray Willis takes on the Gold Coast during the 2015 QBL season.
RE-SIGNED: Ray Willis takes on the Gold Coast during the 2015 QBL season. Mike Richards GLA160515MBAL

Crowd favourite re-signs for Power

BASKETBALL: Port City Power has announced the re-signing of fan favourite Ray Willis for the next two seasons.

Willis is the second and final import on the Power's roster ahead of the 2017 Queensland Basketball League season after Nathaniel Musters put pen to paper last month.

The guard is one of the Power's most versatile players. He has the ability to score off penetration as well as from the perimeter, making him difficult to match up on for most other guards.

The Atlanta product possesses great court vision and passing ability, while his athleticism also translates into great rebounding ability.

Willis also played for the University of Oklahoma and North Carolina Central University before playing professionally in Israel, Finland and Sweden.

He went undrafted in the 2013 NBA draft.

Standing at 200cm, Willis is tall for a guard and adds versatility with his size.

In contrast former American guard Tyrone "Muggsy” Bogues is the shortest player in NBA history, standing at a diminutive 1.6m tall, while current Adelaide 36ers guard Jerome Randle is 1.75m tall, making Willis a valuable asset in the Power's quest to make this year's play-offs.

Ray Willis - Gladstone Power vs Rockhampton Rockets.
Ray Willis - Gladstone Power vs Rockhampton Rockets. Mike Richards GLA230716MBAL

Willis recently arrived back in Gladstone on a two-year visa and Port City Power committee chair Anton Guinea says the star guard is happy to be back in his adopted home.

"He loves being here and loves Gladstone and Australia,” he said.

"Ray is a crowd favourite and brings that American pizazz.

"He's like the Michael Jordan of the team - the crowd wants to come and see him.”

Willis is entering his third season with the Power and the club hopes their import can replicate his 2016 form which saw him named in the QBL All-League team.

In 15 games for the club in 2016, Willis averaged 24.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game.

Ray Willis at the free-throw line.
Ray Willis at the free-throw line. Mike Richards GLA160515MBAL

Not only is the 27-year-old a leader on the court, he's also a trained psychologist off the court and uses that wisdom to motivate his fellow teammates, according to Guinea.

"He is always calm and focused and has a natural ability to make people feel at ease in stressful situations,” Guinea said.

"He's strong leader on the court and brings professionalism to the side.

"Watching him warm up its like he's in his own world - he wears a hoodie and listens to music - he's a unique individual and that's what we love about him.

"He's an all-round club man and I'm really excited to have him back.”

Guinea said Willis also had strong enthusiasm for coaching and often planned creative and effective basketball sessions for the club's junior players.

Gladstone Port City Power tip off their season at Kev Broome Stadium against the Mackay Meteors on Saturday, April 29 at 8pm.



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