Devan Bailey says that the Cheshire Phoenix side he now plays for is a different one to the one he left back in 2014.
The former Helsby High School student rejoined the Nix in December having spent time playing in Guadeloupe and the Portuguese Pro Liga.
Since returning to the club he has been in impressive form on the court and played his part in the club’s run to the BBL Cup final and subsequent victory in the showpiece event at Arena Birmingham at the end of January.
And having left the club almost four years ago for pastures new after becoming frustrated at a lack of minutes on the court, Bailey is pleased to be back wearing Phoenix blue.
“It’s a very different club to the one I left, and there is a different set up around the place and it is really positive,” said Bailey, who has represented Great Britain during a career that has also taken in spells with the Mersey Tigers and Manchester Giants.
“I already knew Coach Ben (Thomas) and James Brice (general manager) from my time here before, so coming back in and getting used to it all wasn’t a big deal for me at all.
“It’s been good since I have come back in and the guys have been great and you just feel like we are growing as a team with every week that passes, and I think that shows with how we are performing on the court.
“The new arena is great and the fan base is growing, and to have that experience of the BBL Cup final so soon after coming in was phenomenal and great to be a part of. To see how many people came out, which was more than the GB team get for home games, shows you that people are starting to take notice of the sport in this country.”
Bailey had taken some time away from basketball in 2015, choosing to try and carve out a path in mixed martial arts.
But basketball called him back once more and his spell overseas saw him enjoy some good form.
His focus now, though, is to make sure that Cheshire book a place in the play-offs and earn the highest seeding they possibly can.
And after a weekend where they picked up an impressive win over Newcastle Eagles on Friday (100-83) before a narrow loss to league leaders Leicester Riders in the BBL on Sunday (73-86), they are showing they can mix it with the best.
“I don’t think there is much question about us getting into the play-offs, the big thing we need to focus on is finishing as high as we can to make sure we get a decent seeding,” said Bailey.
“We have shown we can go against the best sides and there are a lot of games to come, but we’re feeling confident.”
Cheshire are back in action on Sunday when they host Sheffield Sharks at the Cheshire Oaks Arena at Ellesmere Port Sports Village (5.30pm tip off).