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Low signs one-season deal with team in Australia

Derrick Low signed his first professional basketball contract yesterday, a one-season deal to play for the Sydney Spirit of Australia's National Basketball League.

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Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the package includes free housing and transportation. Low, a 6-foot-2 point guard, is a 2004 'Iolani School graduate from Honolulu and recent standout at Washington State University.

"It's a good feeling, it's cool, it's a new step for me," Low said yesterday afternoon, just hours after landing in Honolulu on a flight from Salt Lake City. "I made a good decision. I'm excited to go."

Low completed a summer league schedule with the NBA's Dallas Mavericks on Friday. As an undrafted free agent, he saw limited action in most of the Mavericks' 11 games in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, and team personnel advised his Los Angeles-based agent, Sam Goldfeder, that Low might be better off spending the upcoming season playing overseas.

Goldfeder told Low the Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves also showed interest, but Low decided to accept the Sydney offer now rather than risk getting cut from an NBA team during training camp in October.

"The NBA is still there; several teams are still interested," Low said. "I just have to keep getting better and keep the NBA in sight."

Sydney, which changed its name from the "West Sydney Razorbacks" for the upcoming season, is one of 13 teams in the NBL. The 30-game regular-season schedule is expected to run from late September through mid-February.

Low, who is expected to leave for training camp next month, was exposed to the NBL's competition level when Washington State played a short exhibition series against Australian teams during a late spring trip in 2007. In six games, Low averaged more than 20 points per game, including a 35-point performance against the defunct Sydney Kings.

"I got a good taste of it, it's good basketball," Low said. "They've got a lot of tough, strong guys."

Shortly after arriving home yesterday, Low and his father, Ken, went to church to offer prayers of gratitude.

"I have to be thankful of how I got here," said Low, a former three-time Advertiser State Player of the Year. "Not many people get to be paid good money doing something they love."

Read his blog on prep sports at http://preptalk.honadvblogs.com.

Reach Wes Nakama at wnakama@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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