By MITCH RODD
THE “brotherhood” of the Mildura Heat has welcomed import Jacob Pettway, ABOVE, with open arms, and he is keen to remain a member of the group in 2020.
The 28-year-old from Georgia looks like he has been playing with the Big V Basketball Division 2 Men’s team for years, and the Point University alum says Sunraysia feels like home.
It remains to be seen what the future will hold for Pettway, but he is determined to make the most of the opportunity the playing group has earned in 2019.
After finishing third at the end of the home-and-away season, the Heat won their elimination final against the Packenham Warriors 100-89, and now face a best-of-three semi-final series against the Camberwell Dragons.
The 201-centimetre tall forward prides himself on being a selfless basketballer and doing whatever the team needs.
He has delivered in spades in his 25 games in 2019, averaging 11.4 rebounds per game (fourth in the division), including the most defensive rebounds with 229. He also averaged 16.88 points per game and 2.8 assists per game.
“I’ve loved Mildura,” Pettway said. “It’s like a second home to me.
“Everything is peaceful, family orientated, and it’s easy.
“I love the guys. Everybody is all about the team, there are no selfish people, it’s all about team first and whatever it takes to win.
“That fits with me and my personality. I’m a selfless person and I’m happy to do whatever it takes to win.
“From the first day of training, it’s just felt like a brotherhood. There’s nothing bad to say about the guys at all, everybody plays together and works well together. We can talk to everybody, (we can) take criticism, and that’s perfect.
“I actually do want to come back here because I feel at home.
“What a lot of people don’t understand is… you think it’s about the money and stuff like that, but that’s not true.
“When you get older you realise it’s about being comfortable and being at peace and being somewhere that feels like home.
“I would love to be back in Mildura but I can’t control that, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
The Mildura Heat became premiership contenders following their 12-win stretch to open the season.
Despite missing the top two, Pettway said there is a confidence amongst the playing group they could go to the grand final series again, although they will only focus on one game at a time.
“You can’t go back to the past,” he said.
“The regular season is done and we have to move on from that because anything can happen.
“We just have to focus, prepare game by game and do our duty.
“We’re confident in ourselves, but the only thing we can worry about is what we can control and that is ourselves at the moment.
“I think we can (go all the way), but we just have to take it game by game. But as far as us being confident as a team, we’ve got that.”