Adris Deleon tipped to show class

BASKETBALL

Star import Adris Deleon's Wollongong teammates expect him to bounce back to his best in tonight's road duel with the Perth Wildcats.

Deleon, Wollongong's leading scorer, made just 2/13 shots in last week's loss to Cairns and finished with six points - 11 below his season average.

The Hawks are confident the man nicknamed "2hard2guard" has shrugged off his poor performance and is keen to test himself against the Wildcats' notoriously rugged defence.

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"He'll be right. You can't call yourself 2hard2guard if you don't back yourself," Wollongong forward Glen Saville said.

"You have to be able to back yourself every time you go on to the court, and Adris does that as well as anybody I know."

Deleon dropped from second to third among the league's top scorers after last week's uncharacteristically low output.

But he is still averaging 15.8 points per game and remains the red-hot favourite for NBL Sixth Man of the Year honours.

The Cats also haven't forgotten his superb 26-point haul that sparked a 100-67 Wollongong rout when the teams last met, in round five.

"He's a bit of a microwave off the bench and if he gets it going he's hard to stop," Hawks guard Rhys Martin said.

The Hawks will be playing in the Wildcats' new venue for the first time.

"I don't know if the atmosphere is the same as it was at their old stadium, but we'll soon find out," Saville said.

On debut for the Cats is newly signed import Michael Dunigan, who played a preseason game with the Memphis Grizzlies.

"They've got a new guy, so we'll see what he can do. We'll pull him out with on-ball [screens] and attack him," Martin said.

Tonight's clash will be televised live on One from 9.30pm.

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