The Cairns Taipans have completed their roster bringing DJ Newbille back into the fold for a second straight season.
Newbill was the first import to be signed by Head Coach Mike Kelly last year, and the American guard is the final player to be revealed by the club for their 2019/20 NBL campaign.
Last season Newbill improved to 14.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists in orange, and since then Coach Kelly has kept it no secret that he wanted to retain the club’s reigning “Best Defensive Player”.
“I love DJ – as a person, and as a player. And I know the coaches, the other players, the staff, and the people in town all love DJ and DJ loves Cairns, so it’s a great fit from that point of view. But he is also an excellent basketball player who will give everything he has, to try help us win,” said Kelly.
“DJ was the guy that we said we would like to get back – and if it wasn’t going to be DJ, then it had to be someone with a lot of his qualities. So of course, we’re really happy that it is DJ!”
Prior to the NBL, Newbill began his professional career in Europe, playing in France, Turkey and Belgium, where he won the League Championship and Belgian Cup Crown. He joined the New Zealand Breakers for his first trip down under, before making the move to Far North Queensland and fast becoming a fan favourite.
The 27-year old signs up after suiting up for Avtodor Saratov in Russia’s VTB United League during the NBL off-season where he also played in the FIBA Europe Cup, with Coach Kelly looking for Newbill to take on more of a leadership role in his return.
“DJ never stopped competing last year and I always loved that about him. He did that individually in games and he tried to lift his team mates as well – but there was also a point last year when we knew we weren’t going to make the playoffs and he never stopped fighting. That’s what I want. I want guys that are going to compete every day, and DJ Newbill is that guy,” he said.
“One thing we’re going to ask him to do this season is to help lead other guys in the same way – Nate has already been a vocal guy in the first couple weeks of our pre-season and that’s been great to see.
“Now I think DJ is ready to take that next step up and help the group in that way too.”
DJ Newbill completes the Taipans roster – joining Scott Machado, Cameron Oliver, Nate Jawai, Kouat Noi, Majok Deng, Jarrod Kenny, Mirko Djeric, Fabijan Krslovic, Anthony Fisher and George Blagojevic.