As Sydney Kings’ new trump card Andrew Bogut prepares to make his maiden appearance in Wollongong this weekend, Hawks coach Rob Beveridge plans to keep his own aces up his sleeve.
Beveridge admitted he would be playing his cards close to his chest when Illawarra face-off against the former NBA superstar and his new Kings outfit at WIN Entertainment Centre on Sunday.
“In pre-season there is so much cat and mouse going on,” the Hawks coach said.
“We are not overly scouting them or going out with a massive game plan on how we can beat Sydney or Adelaide [on Friday].
“I always describe it as, we have been doing a lot of study and this is an exam.
“Of course we want to pass the exam but if we find out where we are at and what we can really work on. The attention to detail won’t be that great but we will just throw it out there and see what works.”
While it is only a pre-season match, Beveridge was looking forward to the challenge of facing Bogut.
“At the end of the day, the guy could still play in the NBA today if he wanted to,” he said.
“He has evolved as a player over the years where early in his NBA career, he could score. Later in his career he has been a role player and he does whatever he has to do to win.
“I think the biggest thing he will bring to that group is the leadership and accountability. He will be able to get those guys to compete day in, day out.”
Sunday – and Friday night’s pre-season clash against Adelaide 36ers – will be one of the first occasions the majority of the Hawks squad have played together, other than Todd Blanchfield (Boomers duty). The Kings will also be missing their internationals, but have had the bulk of their squad together throughout the pre-season so far.
“They are going to be more polished than us, we know that purely because they have had six games together,” Beveridge said.
“On paper, they are one of the favourites.
“We always go with the underdog status and I think that’s good for us to see where we are at. It’s a good test.”
The Hawks will donate $5 from every ticket sold to the Buy-A-Bale fund to local farmers struggling with the drought.