The West

Former Cat claws closer to NBA deal
Former Cat claws closer to NBA deal

James Ennis’ outstanding 2013-14 NBL season with the Perth Wildcats has paid off in the form of a contract with Miami Heat.

Ennis, 24, has taken to the court with Miami during the NBA Summer League, first in Orlando and now in Las Vegas.

His performances led to the official signing taking place today.

In 33 games with the Wildcats, Ennis averaged 21.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.

He finished third in league MVP voting and led the Wildcats to their sixth NBL championship.

Ennis’ NBL performances were closely monitored by the Heat.

Heat president Pat Riley said the organization had been impressed with Ennis’ development since he was selected in the second round (No.50 overall) in last year’s NBA draft.

“We were excited to draft James a year ago and have been impressed by the growth of his game in Summer League and Puerto Rico, as well as his terrific experience in Australia, leading Perth to a championship,” Riley said.

The Ennis experiment is expected to have a profound impact on NBL recruiting, with more NBA teams considering sending their fringe and developing players to Australia.

The NBL has introduced a marquee player rule this season in an attempt to attract top talent.

Clubs will be allowed to pay one star import outside the salary cap.

A Wildcats delegation led by coach Trevor Gleeson is currently on a scouting trip in the United States, hopeful of landing another top NBA prospect for the 2014-15 NBL season, which tips off in October.

The West Australian

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