Kyle Adnam has been playing basketball in Melbourne's south-east since he was six years old. Now he will be on court for NBL expansion club South East Melbourne Phoenix in their inaugural season.
The 25-year-old has transformed from an undersized Kilsyth Cobras junior into an established NBL player and championship winner with Melbourne United in 2017-2018.
In recent weeks he faced a difficult decision between staying with NBL championship contenders Sydney Kings or coming home to the Phoenix.
The Kings have NBA centre Andrew Bogut, newly signed import Casper Ware and a place for Adnam as back-up point guard but with the Phoenix he will be close to his family, his partner Anastasia Hallinan and will get to represent his own community.
"It was extremely difficult as while my time with Sydney was short, it was important to my development and everyone at the Kings were amazing to me," Adnam said on Tuesday.
"I feel like I developed a lot in Sydney, especially with my leadership but that prospect of coming home was a big part of it, I love being around my family and friends."
Adnam will take up a two-year deal and join former Melbourne United teammate Tai Wesley and former assistant coach Simon Mitchell, who will be coaching the Phoenix.
"To not only be back with my family and friends but in a place where I've been playing basketball since I was six years old will be amazing," Adnam said.
"I'm excited to grow the Phoenix but also help grow grassroots basketball in the south-east."
Mitchell said Adnam continued boosted his defence and strength while still being a dangerous scorer.
"I think Kyle has elevated his game and was one of the premier back-up point guards in the NBL this past season and his trajectory is only heading north," Mitchell said.
"Then you add that he is one of the most beloved players in the south-east, that is just an added bonus."
Adnam joins a back-court that already includes veteran guards Adam Gibson and Ben Madgen, with the Phoenix planning to sign an import point guard as their starter.
The team also has a remaining spot for a local player, likely a small forward, then they face a waiting game over whether star signing Mitch Creek remains in the NBA next season or not.
If Creek takes up his deal with the Phoenix, they will chase an import centre but if he can earn an NBA contract, the team could fill his spot with an import and chase an Australian centre.
During his four years at Melbourne United, Adnam went from a development player to a back-up point guard and became a fan favourite in the process.
That appeal continued in Sydney and the Phoenix hope he can help them lure fans from United and more importantly make strong links with fans.
"Kilsyth is where I played my whole junior career and I hope this will be almost like playing for Kilsyth," Adnam said.
"It's a new team so we will have teething issues but there is a huge basketball following in the south-east and that will show once the team gets going."
The Phoenix have also lured former Melbourne United head of high performance Eric Hollingsworth across town to join them in the same role. Hollingsworth has been praised for lifting professionalism at United since joining them in 2014.
The Phoenix have signed Mitch Creek (unless signed to NBA), Tai Wesley, Adam Gibson, Ben Madgen, Dane Pineau, Chima Moneke, Dan Trist and Kyle Adnam with more signings to come.