Hawks guard Tyson Demos has been entrusted to fill the gap left by retiring captain Mat Campbell after re-signing with the club for three years yesterday.
A cult figure at WIN Entertainment Centre with a distinctive tattoo sleeve on his right arm, Demos has played the understudy role during the latter part of the 2001 NBL championship winner’s career.
The significance of the new deal - inked less than three months after he helped chair Campbell off the court for the last time - isn’t lost on the 23-year-old.
‘‘They’re very big shoes to fill,’’ Demos said.
‘‘If I can [do] half as well as he’s done on the floor and half as much as he’s done for the club, then I’ll have achieved a lot.’’
Demos has an option for the third year of his contract, but made it clear yesterday he wanted to remain with the Hawks in the long-term.
He started his NBL career at the Gold Coast in 2007, before joining Wollongong two years ago.
‘‘Growing up in Wollongong and watching the Hawks, it was always my dream to play here,’’ he said.
After discussions with coach Gordie McLeod, Demos has a clear idea of what skills he needs to develop to help turn the Hawks, who only avoided the wooden spoon by beating Adelaide in Campbell’s farewell game.
Like the experienced and unflappable Campbell, Demos said he wanted to improve his ability to perform under pressure with a specific focus on developing his ball-handling skills.
And with guard Rhys Martin, swingman Oscar Forman and centre Larry Davidson also already on the books for next season, Demos is confident the Hawks will be finals contenders.
‘‘We’ve got the core group there,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s a few spots to fill and hopefully we will have some quality imports come in and be a group who will be up there again.
‘‘Gordie is a coach who has had a lot of success in his career and we’re all confident we can turn it around quickly.’'