HE filled the final spot on the Hawks roster, but returning veteran Dave Andersen was anything but an afterthought for coach Matt Flinn.
Andersen will take his professional career into a stunning 22nd season after recapturing his love of the game and top form with the Hawks in 2019.
It went far beyond the swansong campaign many tipped his return to Wollongong to be, and left the 39-year-old confident he could go around again.
He was the last member of the roster to put pen to paper, but Flinn says he probably shared more calls and texts with Andersen than any other member of his squad.
"I always envisioned bringing in some experience and leadership in at the back end [of free agency], it was just about what that looked like," Flinn said.
"I was communicating with Dave all the way through the process. I was really honest with him because a lot of it keyed in on [import] Aaron Brooks and that took a few months to get over the line because it was a big decision for him.
"I was in China when I got confirmation of [Brooks'] signature and within five minutes I called Dave and said 'righto mate, we're on here'.
"I thanked him again for his patience because who am I to leave a four-time Olympian and one of our most successful players ever hanging in the lurch?
"It was a risk, he did have other opportunities, but he loves Wollongong, loves the team and he was enthused by what we're trying to put together."
What has been put together is a group vastly different in terms of experience and youth, with Andersen, Brooks, Josh Boone and Tim Coenraad all over the age of 34.
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At the other end of the scale, Andersen has spent more years as a professional player than Daniel Grida, Angus Glover, Sunday Dech, Sam Froling and LaMelo Ball have spent on this earth.
"I've got two distinct groups, I've got the dad's army and then I've got the young kids with Toddy [Blanchfield] in the middle who's going to be the conduit between both," Flinn said.
"You look at the NBA they value veterans and I think in the past the NBL's been a little bit quick to wash a player up. Obviously Dave's in a different calibre of guy because the way he looks after his body.
"I've never seen another athlete I've been around who does his maintenance before and after practice. It's a credit to him and there's no secret why he's 39 and he's still going."
The signing of Andersen will see the Hawks enter with just two imports, with LaMelo Ball - who attended his first session with the Hawks on Monday - part of the NBL's Next Stars program.
It'll bring plenty of attention but Flinn is expecting the likes of Froling, Grida, Glover and Dech to grab some of their own.
"I've already been approached by numerous NBA scouts saying 'look you're going to be sick of me'," Flinn said.
"A scout could be out here watching LaMelo, and he's obviously an enormous talent, but they could sit there and think 'there's another kid here to'.
"It could be Sam, Grida, Angus. Sunday had offers from Perth and Melbourne and chose us so it's going to be exciting to watch him.
"For our young guys to have that level of exposure consistently is great."