New Wollongong Hawks import David Gruber feared his NBL career might have been over before it ever really started.The former Sydney Spirit forward became the sixth player to sign with the Hawks yesterday and is excited about playing under coach Gordon McLeod.But after breaking into the NBL with Sydney in 2008-09, Gruber wondered if he would be out of a job when the Spirit folded at the end last season.His fears have been allayed, with the University of Northern Iowa graduate joining Wollongong on a one-year contract."I'm happy to have the opportunity to stay in the NBL and I'm very excited about the prospect of playing for the Hawks," the 27-year-old said."(Former Hawks and Spirit centre) Tony Rampton spoke highly of the Wollongong community and the people and that left a lasting impression on me. "It's great that the club has that community support and I'm really looking forward to being a part of that."I'll be looking to complement the bigs they've already signed and I'll do whatever I can to help the Hawks get to the next level. I think I can provide a bit of physicality and grunt inside. "I'm all about team chemistry and playing for each other and I really want to help the team be successful."Gruber has been playing with the Frankston Blues in the South Eastern Australian Basketball League for the past four years and is averaging 23.3 points and 11.8 rebounds this season.The 198cm forward averaged 10.4 points on 61 per cent shooting and 6.9 rebounds per game last season with the Spirit.Hawks chief executive Wayne Morris believes Gruber's "blue collar" work ethic will be a perfect fit for the club."David's signing is a very positive step. He works hard, plays hard and is a great individual," Morris said."We've been in contact with David for quite some time and we were very impressed with his commitment to not only basketball, but to becoming a part of this club and the community."He will bring that toughness to our line-up that Wollongong fans love to see, he's a consistent performer at both ends of the floor and will be a great addition."Gruber and his American wife Kara will move to Wollongong early next month."We've heard some great things about the lifestyle, the people and also the passion the community has for the team," he said."We hope to get settled in as quick as possible so I can than solely focus on basketball and working hard to put on a good performance for the fans and the community."Gruber joins Glen Saville, Mat Campbell, Cameron Tragardh, Daniel Jackson and Tim Behrendorff on the Hawks roster for the 2009-10 season."After talking to Gordie about his direction for the team, it was clear that the club is putting some solid foundations in place for the future and are going about it the right way," Gruber said."The team is going to have a great mix of leadership, youth and experience and I'm very happy to be a part of it."I felt like I had a good year with the Sydney Spirit last season. I just love playing basketball so I'm pumped to have another opportunity in the league."The Hawks open their season at home against Perth on September 25.