ILLAWARRA’S rivals have had a pre-season crash course in new Hawks import Demitrius Conger’s ability to do it all, but it’s come as no surprise to former college rival Cody Ellis.
Conger has taken no time showing his worth to the Hawks, having been a standout at the NBL Blitz and again proving his side’s best in last weekend’s two-game road-trip to Brisbane.
The Hawks notched two victories over the Bullets, with Conger producing an impressive stat-line of 15 points, 10 rebounds five assists in a 94-67 victory in game one on Friday.
He also had 11 of his game-high 23 points in the third quarter as the Hawks overturned a 14-point halftime deficit to take the second game 96-92 on Sunday.
Having taken on St Bonaventure alum Conger over four years while at St. Louis University, Ellis was well aware of the 27-year-old’s all-round ability.
“I played against him all four years I was in college,” Ellis said.
“He was at Bonnies and I was at St. Louis and he was a nightmare to guard. He was always first on our list in the scout and he’s so versatile it makes him so hard to handle.
“He’s quick, he’s long, he’s athletic, he times everything really well, he reads the game really well and I think he’s going to be awesome for us this year.”
Coach Rob Beveridge echoed the call, saying he’s been happy with the efforts of Conger and fellow new import Delvon Johnson in the preseason.
“I’m really, really happy with both guys,” Beveridge said.
“I always said we needed a stud three-man and I feel very confident that we’ve found him [in Conger]. He’s just an all-round player.
“He can pass, he can defend, he can rebound, he gets on the rim, shoots the three… he just does everything. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands all the time, he’s a great team player and he shares the ball.”
Beveridge said the two victories, particularly Sunday’s come-from-behind effort, left him confident ahead of the Hawks season-opener against Cairns Friday week.
“We had a great chat at half time about our identity and what we stand for as a team," he said.
“We came out totally focused on taking care of the ball, not forcing too much from the outside and attacking the rim. Defensively, we were great and played with great intensity.
“We took away their running game and outscored them by 30-15 for the [third] period which was pleasing.”