Perth Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge has urged new import Michael Dunigan to resist engaging in psychological warfare with Wollongong centre Larry Davidson tonight at Perth Arena.
Dunigan, who stands 208 centimetres and boasts a 225-centimetre wingspan, has been signed for a five-game cameo in the absence of injured Wildcats forward Matt Knight.
The 23-year-old will make his NBL debut against the crafty Davidson, one of the league's masters of mind games.
"Michael's body and length and athleticism is NBA quality, but now it's a case of coming up against an uncompromising person like Larry Davidson, and Larry couldn't give a s*** who he is, and that's what I've tried to say to him," Beveridge said.
"Whenever you bring in a new guy it's like going one step backwards to go two steps forward, and he's fitted in incredibly well. He's got a great personality and the players have warmed to him straight away.
"He's got some great goals and that's why I grabbed him for the short term, because he's got a point to prove and wants to get in the NBA.
"At the same time he doesn't understand our league, and our league is very tough. He's played in Europe, where it's a bit slower with bigger bodies. This is a mobile league and a lot of the bigs can shoot.
"Obviously we're scouting Wollongong right now, and if you give [Hawks forward Oscar] Forman half a step, that shot's down. It's the same with Larry, and the other thing with Larry is that he'll bang you and try to get you off your game."
The third-placed Cats (6-3) are confident Dunigan will have a positive impact at both ends of the court.
"We don't have him for long but he definitely has the potential to be super-exciting," Beveridge said.
"He's intimidated our players already just with his pure size and athleticism, and that's obviously something we don't have. Matty Knight's a bull, he's a banger. This guy's a super athlete who's long, so it's going to bring in potential shot-blocking and shot-changing.
"If anything, defensively he's as good as I've seen."
The Wildcats started with three straight victories before losing their next three.
But they have responded with big wins in their past three games and would be salivating at the prospect of avenging a 33-point shellacking from the Hawks in round five at Wollongong.
"There's no team in the league that would've beaten Wollongong on that day. It's one of the best performances by a team that I've come across. But ... I know we'll be different this time," Beveridge said.
"It's about us getting back to who we are. We like to play hard-nosed defence and free-flowing offence, and that's what we want to prove to ourselves - that we can do it. It's nothing to do with revenge."
The Cats expect to have back-up guard Brad Robbins on deck after he missed last week's win over Sydney with a finger injury.
"I'm pretty sure he will play," Beveridge said.
"He only got the stitches out on Monday arvo and it's still very nasty looking, but he's telling me he's playing."
Beveridge is confident his side's defence will cause the Hawks problems.
"Defensively, we're really starting to suffocate teams, and that's what we want to do.
"We don't want to give an inch to Oscar Forman, we don't want to allow [Hawks guard Adris] Deleon to get in the key. We were so exposed in that last game against Wollongong and there's no way we're going to let that happen again. That wasn't us that night."