Hawks start plans for next campaign

BASKETBALL

Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod is unable to shed any light on what the Hawks roster will look like next season.

Several players are off contract, including imports Rotnei Clarke and Kevin Tiggs.

The chances of the team's nucleus staying intact appear solid, although some players could attract attention in the free-agent market.

Retaining Clarke is a priority, but McLeod usually builds up his side's Australian content before focusing on imports. And while Clarke might be targeted by rival NBL clubs, the 24-year-old American guard has developed an affinity with Wollongong and previously said he wanted to stay.

"We'll go through the debrief process and speak to the board about what our budget is, and then look at recruiting," McLeod said.

"We'll meet with the other coaches and see where we want to go."

The Hawks' season ended with Sunday's semi-final loss to Perth.

The Wildcats won the best-of-three series 2-0.

The Hawks finished fourth in the regular season, winning seven of their final nine games after losing 13 of their first 19 contests.

"The goal for us at the start was to be the best team we could be, and we did a pretty good job of that," McLeod said.

"We were totally outplayed in the second half on Sunday, but that's why Perth are a championship team. That's why they're always up there challenging for the title every year."

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