Ervin connection helps guide Conger to Hawks

NEW BLOOD: Hawks import Demitrius Conger. Picture: Robert Peet
NEW BLOOD: Hawks import Demitrius Conger. Picture: Robert Peet

Demitrius Conger learned everything he needed to know about the Illawarra Hawks from one of the club’s most recognised imports. 

A Brooklyn native, Conger is a long time friend of one-time NBL MVP and ex-Hawks star guard Gary Ervin.

Ervin, a former All-NBL first teamer, is also from Brooklyn and was quick to spruik a move to the NBL to Conger.

“He gave me a quick run down of the city, the basketball and the league,” Conger says. 

“He knows my family and my sister. It’s a small world.

“It made my decision easier.

“He said I would enjoy it and love it.

“He said Australia is a beautiful country. When someone is telling you that, it puts you at ease.”

While he got the right advice, a move to the Illawarra is a big change for Conger, who has spent his early years as a professional playing throughout Europe.

After spending four years in college at St Bonaventure, the talented forward has honed his skills with stints playing in Greece, Italy and most recently in Belgium at Antwerp Giants.

“Every country has its own unique style of playing so I took a little bit from each country to incorporate into my game,” Conger said.

‘Every year you learn something new.”

Conger, 27, landed in Australia on Friday to begin a one-year deal with the Hawks in the NBL.

Likened to Hawks legend Glen Saville by coach Rob Beveridge, he is expected to play a substantial role for Illawarra in their upcoming campaign.

And the 6’6 swingman is keen to make an impact for his new club. 

“I just want to play the basketball I know how to play,” he said. “I want to try to contribute to the team in every way possible. I feel like that’s enough to ask for.”

Conger’s arrival comes after fellow import Delvon Johnson joined the team in training on Monday. 

Conger is unlikely to be available for the Hawks’ first preseason match against Texas in Sydney next Monday.

Reigning club MVP Rotnei Clarke also won’t be available.

Clarke doesn’t return to Australia until late next week.