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Mitch Creek not giving up on NBA dream while playing for Long Island Nets

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Long Island Nets

Mitch Creek is playing well for Long Island. He’s averaging 13 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals. The 6’5” Australian can play multiple positions. His only failing so far is three point shooting where he’s made only 1-of-6.

He also won a game on a three point play at the buzzer against the Capital City Go-Go, a game where he scored 17 points and grabbed 11 boards.

Creek, who’s 26 and played eight years of pro ball in Australia and Germany, came to New York in hopes of getting a two-way contract. He didn’t —those went to Theo Pinson and Alan Williams— but he decided to stick around anyway. That came at a cost. He could be making multiple times more in Europe or back in Australia. But he still has the NBA dream.

“You go into camp expecting the best, you always want the best to happen there, and unfortunately that didn’t come into fruition,” he told the G League’s official site this week.

“But for me, this is an opportunity. There’s been a lot of different players, affiliate and two-way guys, that have come in and gone into contract roles. We’ve had Americans that have come and played in Australia like Torrey Craig and Jordan McRae and then have gone from the G League to the NBA. We’ve seen it actually happen first-hand, so for me, it’s now about putting my foot in the water and trying to experience it first-hand and seeing what happens.”

It’s his second shot, in fact. He played summer league ball for Dallas in Las Vegas and got to know NBA players and coaches, calling the Mavericks “a very professional organization,” but he got a camp invitation in Brooklyn where he was well known to the staff. Will Weaver, Long Island’s head coach, is an assistant on the Australian national team and the Nets directors of sports science and sports medicine both hail from Melbourne, the big city nearest his hometown of Horsham. Not to mention the GM from across the Tasman Sea.

Creek called the Nets “an elite program everywhere you go” from the coaching staff to the performance team, adding that he “can’t thank them enough for the opportunity.”

In addition to his solid play, Creek has served as a mentor to the young players on Long Island that have included two young foreign nationals, Bosnia’s Dzanan Musa and Latvia’s Rodions Kurucs, the Nets two draft choices.

“The difference for me is I feel like I can bring a bit of a leadership role or a mentor’s role, but at the same time, I have to go out there and lead by example,” he said, noting that he faced the same challenges as the team’s younger players when he was signed at age 18 in Australia and going up against “experienced campaigners.”

As for Long Island, now 4-0 and atop the G League’s Eastern Conference, he feels the team has a lot going for it as it tries for the playoffs in its third season.

“We’ve got a phenomenal team put together through [head coach] Will Weaver and the coaching staff in Long Island. We’ve got a big bunch of ready horses to run up and down and cause some havoc so we’ll see how we go, but I’m really excited for what’s going to happen.”