HAWKS fans can expect more muscle and a little less finesse at the offensive end this season with shifts in personnel bringing more focus on the inside game.
Coach Rob Beveridge handed the reins to assistant, and St Mary’s alum Eric Cooks, for Tuesday night’s trial against the the visiting Gaels and wasn’t reading too much into the nine-point loss that came without Brian Conklin, Dave Andersen, Cedric Jackson and Todd Blanchfield.
“They’re been together for a long time, we’re talking years with that group, so they’re more polished and executed well,” Beveridge said.
“They made some big-time shots. It was frustrating sitting back because I couldn’t control things but it was good sitting back and observing a lot of things.
“We threw in today some offensive structure but we just wanted them to play a little bit. For me it’s more about the physical conditioning.
“Of the main group, we only had seven players and they all played 25-plus minutes each so I think it was a good effort.
It was nice to see how [Emmett] Naar, [Daniel] Grida and [Marshall] Nelson went. I thought our decision-making on a lot of shots was pretty poor.
“We were coming down and just jacking up threes so, right now, they don’t understand the system. We weren’t smart but it was a learning curve for a lot of these guys.”
The absence of Blanchfield saw the Hawks focus a lot less on perimeter shooting, but it’s a sign of things to come according to Beveridge.
“We’re going to bring in Blanchfield who’s one of your main shooters, Timmy [Coenraad] is a great shooter and Grida showed he can shoot as well, but we’re going to play a lot more of on-ball screens [this season],” Beveridge said.
“We’ve got the personnel with a Naar and a Jackson and a Jett who are all so good with the on-ball screen, but we’ve got to have the pieces around them.
“We had some breakdowns, I think at the end of the day they were too big for us. You throw in Andersen and Conklin and things are a little bit different.”
In the absence of considerable inside muscle, Beveridge found a huge positive in the effort of AJ Ogilvy who posted 23 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in a solid 36-minute shift on the floor.
Ogilvy endured an injury-riddled campaign last season but Beveridge said the blowout was a great sign for the two-time NBL First Team centre so early in the preseason.
“We had AJ as our only true big guy and I thought he had a hell of a game,” Beveridge said.
“He played a lot of minutes and I wanted him to do that for his own confidence as well. I think it was really good, he did some outstanding things.
“He’s been injured for six to eight months and I think he just showed himself, and probably the fans here, that maybe AJ’s back.”
Jett finished with 13 points, while Coenraad had 12 and Grida added 10 and Naar had five points to go with his five assists.