WATCHING Hawks import Demitrius Conger go about his business, playing loose hardly seems an issue.
Whether it’s the smooth jump-shot, the neat finish at the rim, or the effortless vertical leap when he throws down one of those highlight reel dunks.
It’s something the Hawks faithful are sure to see plenty of when the new NBL season tips-off, with coach Rob Beveridge letting the 27-year-old off the leash in his famously shackle-free offence.
It’s something the Brooklyn native is relishing ahead of his side’s season-opener against Cairns on Friday.
“I feel like the freer you get to play, the looser you get. I think that goes for any player,” Conger said.
“At times Bevo’s pulled me to the side and said ‘I want you to be more aggressive, I want you to play more loose’. I feel like I already play that way so it was good to hear.
“I feel like that’s my game but, at the same time, I’m just here to fill-in the pieces. Whatever coach needs me to do I’m going to do. That’s how I look at it.”
The St Bonaventure alum has enjoyed a strong preseason, including an eye-catching performance at the preseason NBL Blitz.
He also produced an impressive 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the first of two preseason road games against Brisbane, before backing it up with 23 points two nights later.
Having spent the past four seasons in the more offensively rigid European league’s, Conger credits his teammates with making his transition seamless.
“The guys on the team have definitely helped me out a lot and made the transition very easy,” he said.
“Over the summer when I first spoke to Bevo, he basically told me about his system and I asked him where he saw me fitting in.
I feel like the freer you're allowed to play, the looser you get. I think that goes for any player- Demitrius Conger
“He explained it all to me so I had a general idea about what to expect so I wasn’t completely blinded when I got here.
“There’s similarities [to Europe], obviously it’s still the same game, but there’s definitely some differences.
“Playing for Bevo we have certain things we’re trying to accomplish game plan-wise that I’m really excited about.”
Conger and fellow import Delvon Johnson have bolstered a roster that’s played in semi-final and grand final series’ the past two seasons.
Having fallen just short last season, Conger said there’s no hiding his new team’s championship ambitions.
“I feel like it should be any team’s goal and it’s certainly the goal for us,” he said.
“It’s definitely what we’re looking forward to and trying to build towards.”
The Hawks will face an early test of their championship credentials with a tough draw that will see them play nine of their first 12 games on the road, but Conger said he’s embracing the challenge.
“I think every player has that itch right around the end of preseason,” he said.
“You’ve played all the preseason games and you’re just ready for the real thing.”