Former Illawarra junior standout Xavier Cooks dropped into the Snakepit with his AIS teammates on Wednesday for an intense workout with the Wollongong Hawks.
Cooks played all his junior basketball for Illawarra before heading to the AIS earlier this year to take up a scholarship with Basketball Australia's Centre of Excellence.
The 18-year-old is set to live in the US for four years playing division one college basketball.
Cooks' coach at the AIS is former Wollongong and Perth Wildcats guard Adam Caporn, who believes the training run with the Hawks provided immeasurable benefits for his young side.
The non-stop two-hour session was run by Hawks coach Gordie McLeod.
"It's great. It gives these guys a taste of what it's like to practise with some NBL players under the direction of a great coach, and to stay connected to the basketball community," Caporn said.
"It also lets them see us a little bit. Gordie gave them some really nice feedback and our guys learned a lot.
"They had a lot of fun and certainly got a lot out of it. Playing with the likes of veterans like Oscar [Forman] and Larry [Davidson], our guys learn a lot from playing with them and playing against them, and they build a relationship with them.
"It might just be small pointers that Larry and Oscar might not think are too significant, but our boys think highly of them and they take it to heart.
"It's good to get that hitout against NBL players and it's something we hope to do again."
Caporn played three seasons with Wollongong from 2004-06.
He returned home to Perth in 2007 but his promising NBL career was cut short by recurring knee injuries.
The 32-year-old former guard always had a good eye for the game and made a smooth transition into the coaching world.
"I love it, I love the challenge, and I'm really enjoying the journey with this group," he said.
"It was something I always had an interest in. I did a little bit of it while I was still playing, and I jumped into it pretty heavily when I finished playing and was addicted right away. It keeps filling that competitive element in your life."
The Hawks continue to finalise details with the re-signing of the club's free agents.