Hawks coach Rob Beveridge admits he was “pleasantly surprised” by Illawarra’s polished winning performance against the University of Texas in their opening preseason game.
The undermanned Hawks easily took care of the Longhorns in a 88-60 victory at Alexandria Basketball Stadium on Monday night.
Forward Tim Coenraad led the way with 30 points and eight rebounds while AJ Ogilvy had a great all-round display when chalking up 20 points, six rebounds and four blocks.
The top performance came with Mitch Norton and Nick Kay both still absent on Boomers duty and imports Rotnei Clarke, Demitrius Conger and Delvon Johnson all unavailable.
It was also Illawarra’s first official hit out for close to six months as the new NBL season edges closer.
“We had half the regular squad and four fill ins, but everyone really impressed me,” Beveridge said.
“We’ve spent the first month of practice leading into the game focusing on skills development.
“The boys had a two and a half hour gym session on the morning of the game where they worked their tails off.
“They could have been tired going into the game but were great.”
Beveridge felt Illawarra’s experience told against a youthful Texas outfit, who have NBA Draft prospect Mohamed Bamba on their roster.
Bamba struggled matching up against Ogilvy and eventually fouled out in the second half.
Illawarra continue their preseason at the NBL beginning on September 7.