Slowly but surely, Wollongong newcomer Rotnei Clarke is growing increasingly comfortable in his role as the Hawks’ main offensive weapon.
The former US college star averaged a team-leading 21.5 points in two preseason games against Perth and Melbourne last weekend.
The Hawks went to Clarke when the game was on the line in overtime against Melbourne who delivered a buzzer-beating three-pointer.
The 24-year-old is looking forward to this weekend’s trials against the Sydney Kings – Wollongong’s final games before they play NBL titleholders New Zealand Breakers in the first game of the season on October 10.
The Hawks meet the Kings at Sutherland Basketball Stadium tonight before they square off again on Sunday at the Snakepit.
‘‘I’m starting to get a better understanding of the offence and what the coaches want,’’ Clarke said.
‘‘We’ve got some senior guys who’ve been helping out a lot, so I’m starting to move along and make some progress.’’
The Hawks are 1-4 in the preseason and haven’t played trials in Wollongong.
Hawks fans will get their first look at Clarke and fellow import Durrell Summers in Sunday’s clash, which tips off at 3pm.
Also making his first appearance of the preseason will be Hawks point guard Rhys Martin, who is returning from major knee surgery.
‘‘We should have Rhys back and Durrell should be cleared to play, so we’ll have our full roster going,’’ Clarke said.
‘‘It’ll be a good opportunity with our whole team together and fun to play in front of the fans here for the first time.’’
Clarke was impressed by the quality of basketball during his brief time in Australia.
‘‘Obviously there’s a lot of talent in the league,’’ he said.
‘‘I knew that coming in, but I didn’t think I realised how good it was going to be.
‘‘It’s a really good league and that’s why I made the decision to come here and play.
‘‘It was a good experience to be part of the Blitz. It was a real well organised event,’’ he said.
‘‘To come away with a win in the last game gives us a little confidence going into these next two games and then the regular season.
‘‘Now that we’re finally getting through preseason and getting into regular season mode, it’s pretty exciting,’’ he said.