Townsville import Gary Ervin has come out in support of Wollongong rival Adris Deleon on the eve of tonight's pivotal Hawks versus Crocodiles showdown at The Swamp.
Make no mistake, Ervin will be doing his best to dominate Deleon and keep the Crocs' faint top-four chances alive.
But yesterday, he was in his New York buddy's corner, claiming Deleon should've been the NBL Player of the Month for February, ahead of New Zealand Breakers dynamo Cedric Jackson.
"Adris is playing excellent basketball right now," Ervin said.
"I'm shocked he didn't get Player of the Month. He had my vote."
Deleon has certainly had some big games lately, including last week's haul of 31 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in Wollongong's road win over Melbourne.
Ervin said the Crocs planned to limit Deleon's offensive effectiveness by making him expend more energy at the defensive end.
"The hardest thing to do is for a guy to have to play both ends of the floor, and that's something we're going to have to do a great job of, with controlling Adris and what he's doing," he said.
"That's OK if he comes in aggressive because I'm going to come in and be aggressive as well. When I'm aggressive, we're a better team. You want your best player to start off aggressive, so that's something coach [Paul Woolpert] is going to look at and run some plays for me to get off."
Ervin and Deleon have played against each other for years on the New York playgrounds.
But Ervin's connections with the Hawks don't end there.
He grew up in Brooklyn, around the corner from Wollongong import Malcolm Grant and the pair remain close.
"That's my little brother right there," Ervin said of Grant.
"He's a great player. He plays the game the right way. He doesn't really force anything. Maybe he should sometimes, for how good he is.
"We always look forward to playing against each other and this is no different. But again, it's about both ends of the floor."
Ervin expects 218-centimetre centre Luke Nevill to make amends for his four-point output in last month's 24-point road loss to the Hawks.
"It's all about scouting, and teams are scouting him better," the 180-centimetre playmaker said. "It's more about us having to stop forcing it to him. We have to get it through hands and get through the offence, we have to get out for easy baskets in transition and get our shooters going.
"That opens up the high-low game for Luke, which he's great at. That's something we definitely have to do a better job of.
"Our season is far from over. All our games are against teams we're fighting with for the playoffs, so that makes it better from our perspective.
"We're playing against a team that just got a great win on the road against Melbourne but Wollongong is one of the teams we have to beat in order to stay in there.
"It's going to be a dogfight and we're going to come out fighting for sure."