AJ Ogilvy is feeling good.
It might seem like a little thing, but for most of the 2017-18 NBL campaign it was far from the case for the towering Hawks centre.
A niggling hip problem prevented the three-time All NBL teamer's season from ever taking flight as Illawarra failed to fire a shot in the competition’s championship race.
Six months on and the Hawks big-man is determined to make sure that won’t be a factor again in 2018-19.
After an off-season of intense rehabilitation, the cornerstone to Illawarra’s franchise is ready to regain his mantle as one of the league’s premier big men.
"I have a little bit of renewed desire," Ogilvy said.
"Last year was a tough season for me but it was tough for the team too - missing out on finals and not performing to the level we probably should have.
"It definitely made me hungry going into this preseason.
"A lot of the other teams have added pieces that make them very strong but I am very excited about our group and what we can put on the court."
Ogilvy returned to Snakepit for training at the end of July, but has spent the bulk of the off-season rebuilding strength in his troublesome hip.
"Being in the position I was last season physically, it definitely plays on your mind so a big part of it was getting that confidence back in my body," Ogilvy said.
"I needed to be sure if we did weights and then training, that my hip wasn't going to be nagging and that I would be able to do everything I was able to do.
"That's why I took so much time [on my recovery]. We finished in February and I have just started [recently]. I built back in slowly and I'd have confidence in every movement.
"I wasn't doing anything that was painful and it got to a point where I was able to do everything in one day that I would in a season. I had a big sigh of relief after that."
Ogilvy is one of just three players returning to the Hawks roster from last season, with Tim Coenraad and Kevin White also re-signing.
New imports Brian Conklin, Cedric Jackson and Jordair Jett headline a massive roster overhaul in the Illawarra.
"From my first year here, we have always had a lot of roll over into every new season but this year we have a lot of new faces so hopefully they can bring some new energy," Ogilvy said.
"I know the guys who have stayed around are really excited about the new group. We are ready to make amends for what happened last year.
"I know Bevo is excited about the group. We have a team that can get up and down the floor, play some defence and get back to the way we all love playing."
The Hawks begin their pre-season on Tuesday night with a match against new guard Emmett Naar’s former college St Mary’s at the Snakepit.
- PRE-SEASON CLASH
Illawarra Hawks v St Mary’s Gaels
Tuesday, 7pm – The Snakepit