Once the toast of the NBL with Wollongong as league MVP in 2011, Gary Ervin is well known to the Hawks for the threat posed by his silky skills.
Ervin is with the 36ers and awaits his former teammates’ arrival in Adelaide for Saturday’s showdown.
It lingers fresh in the Hawks’ memory that Ervin averaged 20.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists during the 2011 season.
Hawks shooting guard Tyson Demos believes stopping Ervin will be a huge step towards recording their first win this season.
‘‘Gary’s going to be a big part of them winning and losing,’’ Demos said.
‘‘We’ve got different ways that we want to try and play him.
‘‘When he’s at his best he’s penetrating and dishing and getting on the rim and getting his teammates involved so we’re going to look to force him to the perimeter and force him to make shots.
‘‘We’ve got to be wary of him because when he does get going he can be very dangerous and he can score a lot of points on you really quickly.’’
His return to Wollongong after three years with the defunct Gold Coast Blaze coincided with Ervin’s arrival at the Hawks in 2009 and the 25-year-old believes lessons learned from the former University of Arkansas point-guard could hold the key to victory on Saturday.
‘‘He was here in my first year so it was good to learn a few things off him,’’ Demos said.
‘‘He’s a great competitor, he plays hard and he brings it every single game.
‘‘We have played with him before so we do know his strengths and our weaknesses.
‘‘We’re going to look to play him that way on Saturday, so hopefully it pays off for us.’’
The Hawks also need to put a lock on 36ers forward Daniel Johnson, who racked up 28 points against Perth last week.
‘‘DJ was pretty much unstoppable last game,’’ Demos said.
‘‘We’ve really got to restrict the amount of shots that we’re giving him.
‘‘We don’t want him scoring in the paint, so we need to make him shoot from the outside and make shots from there.’’
Demos spent most of his time with the Hawks as an impact player from the bench but plans to bring the same energy to the starting role as regular Rhys Martin eases back from off-season surgery.