Eight became nine for the Wollongong Hawks on Thursday, as guard Tyson Demos was finally re-signed by the club.
Demos has been training with the Hawks throughout the preseason, despite his official status as a free agent.
He was always in coach Gordie McLeod’s plans for the 2014-15 NBL season and becomes the ninth contracted player on the roster.
‘‘It’s good finally to get the business side of things done and just focus on basketball,’’ Demos said.
‘‘I’ve been in here since the start of preseason, working out with Dom [Cooks] and Laz [Davidson]. I’m fit and injury-free, I’m feeling good and looking forward to the season.’’
A former Illawarra junior rep, Demos has been with the Hawks for the past four years and almost feels like a senior member of the team.
‘‘I’m going to try and take more of a leadership role with [former Hawks guard] Rhys [Martin] not being here,’’ the 26-year-old said.
‘‘This is my fifth season so it’s my time to step up in the leadership department.’’
Demos’s signing comes a week after the Hawks recruited American guards Gary Ervin and Jahii Carson.
‘‘It’s going to be a pretty exciting year,’’ Demos said.
‘‘They’ve put together an exciting, crowd-pleasing team, so games should be fairly entertaining. It’s going to be an up-tempo style with Jahii and Gary in that point guard position.
‘‘We’ve got another few weeks until the season starts, but everything’s starting to gel pretty well.’’
McLeod has to add one more player to the roster, most likely a backup guard.
The nine signed players are Demos, Carson, Ervin, Davidson, Tim Coenraad, Oscar Forman, Adam Ballinger, Dave Gruber and Brad Hill.
‘‘We’re so glad to have Tyse back,’’ assistant coach Matt Flinn said.
‘‘Being a local kid, he certainly fits the ethos of where we want to be with producing local players to play for this club.’’
Demos has won the Hawks’ Best Defensive Player award for the past three years.
‘‘What he brings defensively to the club is huge,’’ Flinn said.
‘‘He can guard three positions, he’s a nightmare for opposition players with his physicality.
‘‘He’s been here for four seasons and our system has evolved over that time and he’s seen as a leading part of that system in terms of getting other people up to speed.’’
The Hawks take on Chinese team Dongguan in a trial next Saturday night at the Snakepit.