Listed at just 73 kilograms, former Hawks import Aaron Brooks was the lightest player in the NBL this season - but he threw every single one of them around.
The aura a 685-game NBA career brings can't be measured on any scale, but it quite reasonably held far more weight at the Snakepit.
Looking to test his crop of young players, Hawks coach Matt Flinn decided to throw new recruit Sunday Dech on the floor in a preseason scrimmage. Learning what he already had about Dech, the result was predictable.
"They got into a fight," Flinn says bluntly.
"It was really the only scrap we've had at practice all year. He's certainly an uncompromising defender and he's a winner. That might sound a bit ironic given we're 5-14 but he is a winner and he's going to be a winner.
"Wayne Bennett used to say leaders don't always view themselves as leaders, they just naturally become one because of the honesty and accountability in how they go about their life and work.
"He's that type of guy. The amount of work he does on and off the floor, and the way he goes about his life, I think he's ceiling is pretty high. I don't think we've even scratched the surface of what he's capable of yet."
It won Brooks over as well, with the scrap turning into a bond Dech credits with the form surge that's made him a lock, in the eyes of many, for NBL Most Improved honours at seasons' end.
"It was a very humbling experience because there's not too many times you get a 10-12 year NBA professional in your gym," Dech said.
"We had some tense moments in the gym but it was all out of competitive spirit. Aaron was such a competitor and he brought the best out of us.
"I cherished it because he mentored me a lot off the court, particularly in the mental side of the game. He just always told me to keep it simple when I get in the game, do what I do best, and slowly that'll earn my way onto the court.
"It's come to fruition now given I'm getting the opportunity to play a lot and contribute to the team in a huge way."
The Hawks have been the major beneficiary and, while he's undoubtedly in Most Improved territory, Flinn's willing to go a step further.
"The first conversation I had with him I said 'I think you can be the Defensive Player of the Year'," Flinn recalls.
"He'd only played 11 games for Perth last year so he was looking at me like 'this guy will say anything' but I 100 per cent believed it and I think he's got to be in the conversation.
"When you look at the people he has to match up against, he gets a stud every game. I can't speak for them but if you sat with [Scott] Machado, or [Jerome] Randle or Casper [Ware], Melo Trimble... I'd be surprised if those guys didn't put him in the conversation."
It's a broader conversation than the Most Improved one, but either would bring validation for the coach who went all-out to bring the 26-year-old to Wollongong.
Having played a role in two championships with Perth, the first as a development player in 2017, the Wildcats were keen on their hometown product's signature.
His credentials were only strengthened by a college career with Metro State - the alma mater of Mitch McCarron and Nick Kay - and Barry University.
The Cats are a club that typically don't lose players they want to keep but, after playing just 11 games as an injury replacement last season, Dech was certain he could do himself better justice in the Gong.
"It was a tough decision to leave Perth because that's the team I grew up barracking for and to get the opportunity to play for them and win a couple of championships was special," Dech said.
"At the end of the year I just had to assess where I was in my career. I'm fresh out of college, one year in [to a pro career], and Perth's one of those clubs that, once you sign with them, you're there forever.
"I just wanted to give it a crack and back myself. I was talking to Flinny in the off-season and through the whole recruitment process he was super positive talking me through his vision for myself and the team and where he wanted me to develop.
"He looked at me as someone who could become a real leader of the team and someone who could stay for 5-10 years and really move forward with him and the club.
"To feel wanted is obviously a great thing but to have someone back you and trust you without knowing him very well was really awesome."
The Hawks haven't merely benefited from his efforts at the defensive end, with the added minutes in an injury-depleted line-up gifting him the chance to show his not inconsiderable offensive qualities.
Since dropping a career-high 21 points against Cairns in round six, Dech has averaged above 12 points in his last 11 games.
"You want to be able to play both sides of the ball," Dech said.
"I had some great mentors in Perth in Damo [Martin] and Mitch Norton, guys who are really the benchmark defensively in the league. Coming here was a chance to expand my offensive skill set and that's something we work hard on at practice.
"It's been fun to get out there and see the work we're doing on practice court is finally translating onto the court. We're playing an exciting brand of basketball and, personally, there's no better way to play."
Leaving home, and the league's benchmark franchise, for the perennial battlers was certainly a gamble, but Dech sure it simply as an opportunity.
He's made a habit of taking them in the past and, in that regard, he's had some powerful mentors given the journey his parents took from war-torn South Sudan to making better life on Australia's West Coast.
Dech, who arrived with them in Australia as six-year-old, said that trajectory is never lost on him or his six siblings.
"It was a huge move for my parents, they just wanted a better life for us," Dech said.
"I was born in Ethiopia and they're from South Sudan so we were driven back and forth from there when I was young. It was war-torn at the time and dad had a great opportunity to come out here and work and start a new life with us.
"He took it which we're very thankful for. Coming out here was tough at first, they had to leave all their family and friends behind, but they found their niche and we are where we are now.
"Everything we do is about repaying them for their sacrifices in bringing us out and allowing us to live a fortunate life which we do.
"My older brother works at a bank in Melbourne and is working his way up there, I'm here playing pro basketball, my younger siblings are at uni and doing well at school.
"We're always aware of that and they really instilled the value of putting your head down and working hard."
He's certainly not alone in that ethos, with the likes of Emmett Naar, Angus Glover and Daniel Grida all seeing rewards in time on the floor - if not in the win column.
That's a longer term investment and Flinn is well aware of the challenges the club faces in holding onto its crop of young talent.
Hawks fans will get a telling reminder of that fact when Nick Kay and Mitch Norton turn out for the Wildcats against the Hawks in Wollongong on Friday.
Dech is contracted until the end of next season, as are Naar and Glover, while teenage big Sam Froling is in the first of a three-year deal. Only Grida is off-contract but Flinn said it's essential his franchise gets ahead of the game.
"Those conversations need to start now with those guys," Flinn said.
"A lot of the time we sit back and complain because these guys leave but a lot of the time we've been in scramble mode from year to year.
"Whether it's an upgrade for Sunday... I don't think too many people would argue with that because he's a future leader of the club. I don't think there's any question about that.
"If he can continue to develop and grow at the offensive end and be that true combo [guard] he's going to be a great clubman for a long time if we can hang onto him.
"Now that we've got some stability, I've got another two years, I think we need to start these conversations now and start locking them up."