HAWKS coach Rob Beveridge can barely contain his delight at how this season’s squad has come together so far.
But expect him to be holding his cards close to his chest at the Australian Basketball Challenge, starting on Saturday.
The Hawks take on Chinese outfit Zhejiang Golden Bulls at 1.30pm in Brisbane, before backing up on Sunday against Perth and finishing the tournament on Monday against Melbourne United. Beveridge declared the tournament will be a time for experimentation and scouting.
“We’re definitely going to try a few things and make sure we get some of our younger players plenty of minutes,” Beveridge said.
“Really, the whole thing is about scouting and checking out the other teams, no-one is ever too worried about who wins the pre-season competition.
“There’s a lot of cat and mouse going on, as teams work on things without giving too much away either.
“But you’ve got to be prepared to try something and see what works and what doesn’t.”
US import Michael Holyfield has been particularly impressive in trials against Sydney and Cairns, but Beveridge revealed a selfless team ethos is being driven from the playing group. The Hawks recovered from losing former NBL champions Kevin Lisch and Kirk Penney by 2014 signing league MVP Rotnei Clarke and signing shooting guard Marvelle Harris.
“They’ve fitted in really well,” Beveridge said.
“Everyone knows and loves Rotnei here, but for Mike and Marvelle, they’ve been great.
“I couldn’t be happier with how it’s gone so far, but the big issue for me is always going to be how you make it work with such a deep roster.
“And that’s where the players have really bought in to what we’re trying to do, it’s driven internally that if you’re not going to play hard, you’re not going to be out there.”
Beveridge and other coaches held a meeting with NBL referees on Thursday, discussing changes to rule interpretations, including a crackdown on hand-checking blocking and travel fouls.