South East Melbourne Phoenix superstar Mitch Creek says he couldn’t return to the Adelaide 36ers if the opportunity presented.
Creek spent eight years with the 36ers, growing into one of the club’s leaders and earning an All-NBL Second Team berth in 2018. Since leaving Adelaide, Creek has played in the NBA with the Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves, before becoming the Phoenix’s marquee man in their inaugural campaign.
The 28-year-old has already committed to South East Melbourne for NBL21 and has made it clear he intends to help build the club into a powerhouse.
When asked on the latest Gibbo Goes One-On-One podcast whether he would ever consider returning to the 36ers, Creek didn’t mince his words.
“Nah, I don’t think I could (play with Adelaide again),” Creek said.
“There’s just too much there that is still inside that I’m just not comfortable with.
“I still try to keep in touch with Joey (Wright) as much as possible, I was on the phone to KB (Kevin Brooks) the other day, I spoke to Jazzy the manager, the players, and we all have a great time and have a laugh.
“That’s always going to be there, I’m going to love the people that used to come in and set up the court, Troy and Scotty, all the people around. You never forget the faces. There’s a lot of great memoires there but I don’t think I can go back.
“I feel really at home at South East Melbourne, it’s got so much potential to be an amazing ball club with such a huge fan base in the South East area. To be part of a new franchise is really exciting for me.”
Creek’s return to Adelaide with the Phoenix was one of the most highly anticipated matches of NBL20 and it lived up to the billing.
The Round 11 thriller went down to the wire, with Creek missing a lay-up at the buzzer which would have sent the game to overtime. The 36ers’ 113-111 victory was played in front of an electric crowd and it’s an atmosphere Creek will never forget.
“Going back, I was nervous,” Creek said.
“I was unsure of how I would feel. I was shitting myself to be honest. I got out there and had butterflies, was trying to talk a bit more to make up for that nervous energy.
“I had all my family and friends there…everyone was there in a box.
“Playing in a new venue, your name gets called out and all of a sudden you have some boos and some cheers and you’re like damn, I tried to serve Adelaide as good as I could with as much heart and integrity and loyalty as possible and then they’re booing ya. You’re like, bloody hell, that’s a bit rough, chill out.
“It’s something that comes with sport. As a leader, you’re at the focal point. As a marquee player, you’re at the focal point. I had a great season up until then and the spotlight was on me.
“I had thousands of calls and messages about it. Everyone was trying to pump it up, but I was trying to play it as a normal week.
“We lost on the buzzer, I had a chance to tie it up, missed a lay-up that rolled around the rim and bobbled out, it is what it is. You take the good with the bad and you understand it’s all a learning curve.
“To go there, to make a great attempt on the ring as a strong suit of mine, it misses. If it goes in, it could be a different story and a fairy-tale.
“To lose to a team that you played with, you’re never mad about it, obviously I want to win every single game I ever play. To go there and be part of that atmosphere was amazing.
“I was talking shit with the crowd, I had friends in the front row, and I was talking garbage to them.
“I played a really good game I felt but you don’t capitalise on the one possession that matters and that’s the frustrating thing.
“I had a great time. I wish every time I played there I could feel that nervous energy because it does get you going.”
Listen to the Gibbo Goes One-On-One podcast every Wednesday night at 6:30pm AEST, as Adam Gibson is joined by a special guest each week. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and YouTube.