Hawks' imports feeling blessed

The Wollongong Hawks' American recruitsGary Ervin (left) and Jahii Carson. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

The Wollongong Hawks' American recruitsGary Ervin (left) and Jahii Carson. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Hawks' US recruits Jahii Carson and Gary Ervin got straight to work. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Hawks' US recruits Jahii Carson and Gary Ervin got straight to work. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

BASKETBALL

ONE was setting foot on Wollongong soil for the first time, the other felt like he'd never left the place.

One thing is certain - Jahii Carson and Gary Ervin are relishing the prospect of forming a lethal import combination for the Wollongong Hawks.

Carson and Ervin arrived in Wollongong on Sunday to start preparing with their Hawks teammates for the October 10 tip-off of the 2014-15 NBL season.

The high-flying Carson was a college standout for two years at the University of Arizona State and narrowly missed selection in the June NBA Draft.

"I'm excited to be here playing professional basketball, especially with the Hawks," the 178-centimetre guard said.

"I got to know Gary a little bit while I've been here and he's been explaining things, so it's definitely a blessing to be able to come out here and play for a team like this.

"I did a little research on the league and on the Hawks, the Instagram and all the social media, and it gave me a better feel about what I was getting myself into. So with all that, I wasn't worried at all. I was very excited and ready to get into it."

Ervin has returned to Wollongong after starring with the club in the 2010-11 season. He played with Townsville and Adelaide over the past two seasons.

"It feels great to be back, especially where it started for me in Australia," he said.

"To be back with the club where I would rather have been the last couple years, I'm blessed.

"I think I'm in a great position and I'm just happy to be back where I started out.

"Every year it was the same thing, that maybe I had a chance to come back and it just didn't work out, but it was always close. When the opportunity presented itself this year, sometimes you feel like some stuff is meant to be. It was an easy decision for me, coming back to Australia to a place that you're familiar with, the fans loved you, your teammates were great."

Carson, who boasts a 120cm vertical leap, insists he has moved on from the disappointment of being overlooked for selection in the NBA Draft.

"I was one of those guys that was supposed to get drafted, and sometimes things don't slip your way, but I have to get past that," the 21-year-old said.

"I've fought adversity a million times in my life and it won't be the last time. I'm here now with the Hawks and I'm going to make the best of it.

"I've met all the guys and been talking to Gary, so I'm feeling kind of comfortable.

"He's about my size and he's been pretty successful in this league, and he's already given me a lot of tips."

Ervin said he enjoyed playing a mentor role.

"In the few hours I've been with him, you can tell he's a guy who wants to learn, he's a guy that's focused," the 31-year-old New Yorker said.

"He can see things, he's asking questions. That makes it so easy when you've got a person who's willing to learn."

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