FRESH off a pair of back-to-back WNBL championships over the past two years, Kelly Wilson is returning to the Bendigo Spirit following three seasons away from the club.
The signing of star point guard Wilson is a massive off-season boost for the Spirit and new coach Tracy York.
"Having the opportunity to return to Bendigo is really exciting and I can't wait to join the Spirit," Wilson said this week.
"I had been at the Spirit for quite some time previously and it was time for a change for me. I feel really good about the decision to move in winning two championships, but the opportunity to come home now is one I jumped at."
Wilson previously spent eight years with the Spirit from the 2008-09 to 2015-16 seasons, with her tally of 186 games for the club surpassed by only Gabe Richards (234).
She was a member of both Spirit back-to-back championship sides in 2012-13 and 2013-14 under former coach Bernie Harrower.
In her three seasons since departing the Spirit after 2015-16 Wilson has won championships with both Townsville (2017-18) and Canberra (2018-19).
But she now has her sights firmly on rejuvenating the Spirit following four-consecutive seasons out of the play-offs, with her signing coming three weeks after the club also locked in Australian Opal Tessa Lavey.
"I've met Tracy (York) a couple of times and having some chats with her about the direction of where the club is headed is exciting and to be part of the new era of the Bendigo Spirit leading into the future is something I'm on board with," Wilson said.
"I just want to be able to contribute in a positive way and help the team get back to where it has been previously."
Wilson is fourth on the WNBL's all-time games list with 376 - she first played in the league in 2003 - and has plenty of fond memories of her first stint with the Spirit.
"I played in Bendigo for eight years and it was some of the best basketball of my career; not just in terms of the achievements, but enjoying my basketball, and that's what it's all about," Wilson said.
"The two championships we won, especially having been part of those earlier teams that helped build those championship teams, is something I will always be proud of."
York described Wilson's signing as "fantastic for myself as coach, the Spirit team and importantly, Bendigo basketball and the Bendigo community.
"She brings championship winning experience, tremendous work ethic, leadership and mentoring for up-and-coming players."
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