Sydney Kings land DJ Hogg as Xavier Cooks replacement

The Sydney Kings have landed on American big man DJ Hogg as their replacement for NBL MVP-turned-NBA star Xavier Cooks.

The Kings expect Hogg to slot into the power forward role that Cooks made his own in the back-to-back NBL titles that preceded his maiden NBA contract with the Washington Wizards.

The 2023/24 campaign will be Hogg’s second in the NBL after a successful year with the Cairns Taipans that earned him selection in the All-NBL Second Team last season.

Before that, the 207cm Hogg spent three years playing college basketball for NCAA Division I school Texas A&M and had stints with NBA G-League sides Delaware Blue Coats, Wisconsin Herd and Lakeland Magic.

He won the G League title with Lakeland in 2021 and played under former Kings coach Chase Buford at the Herd.

Hogg has signed a two-year deal with the Kings, the second season of which is a mutual option.

“I really want to keep the winning culture and mentality going in Sydney and do whatever I can to help the club win a three-peat,” said Hogg.

“As a player, I feel like I’m someone who can contribute to success on the court in numerous different ways.

“I have the ability to stretch the floor, at the three or four position, and being an even-keeled player, that can stay consistent throughout the entire season.

“If I can do that and win in Sydney, it will mean a lot as the club is a proven pathway to the NBA, with several Kings players making that jump over the past few seasons – which is definitely a goal of mine.”

Hogg’s commitment to the Kings leaves the side with two more import spots to fill.

The side is likely to chase an import guard to partner Dejan Vasiljevic in the back-court but will prioritise securing a new coach after dual-premiership winning mentor Chase Buford left to pursue NBA opportunities earlier this month.

The Kings are also set to go to market for a marquee local player and possibly a participant in the NBL Next Star Program, iconwin an initiative that allows clubs to sign overseas players who are hoping to nominate for the NBA draft.

Hogg joins championship winners Shaun Bruce, Dejan Vasiljevic, Angus Glover, Kouat Noi, Jaylin Galloway and Jordi Hunter in committing to the Kings for next season.

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