IT'S yet to show itself in the win-loss column, but Illawarra skipper Todd Blanchfield says six call-ups for Boomers duty is an endorsement of the Hawks burgeoning culture.
No stranger to International basketball, Blanchfield has been joined in a 24-man squad for the upcoming Asia Cup Qualifiers by Daniel Grida, Emmett Naar, Sunday Dech, Sam Froling and Angus Glover.
It's a maiden selection for the latter three, who've had the chance to show their wares amid a heavy injury toll that's plagued the club this season.
With all but Grida signed beyond the current season, Blanchfield says it can be a solid building block for the club's long-term NBL future.
"One thing with this group is that we're young and everyone's here for the next couple of years," Blanchfield said.
"I don't like to compare too much but if you look at other teams like Perth and those sort of teams, they have that real core group of local guys that have been there [long-term].
"Perth have Jesse Wagstaff, Damian Martin, guys who've been there for five-six years and really built that foundation. I think that's massive in a professional sporting team, the culture on and off the floor.
"If you've got those guys leading by example each week, new guys coming in just mould into that culture. That's what we want to build here.
"We've got myself, Sunday, Angus, Sam, we've got Grida, guys who are wanting to stay and build that culture and that foundation so the six of us getting selected in this Boomers squad is huge for us."
Despite much improved performance over the last six weeks, the Hawks remain anchored to the bottom of the ladder at 5-17 on the season.
It puts them in danger of posting the worst regular-season record in the club's history but - with the 24-man squad to be cut to 12 - Blanchfield said his side has even more incentive to string some wins together over their final six games.
"I know the first time I got selected it brought a lot of confidence, just knowing you're in that mix, in that top 24, is massive," he said.
"It starts in this last six games for us, we obviously want to win but that [selection] is on the line as well. That's going to be in the back of those guys' minds because it's a massive milestone.
"The confidence that brings can really lift us. We've got six guys in that group so if we can take that mentality into the last six games it'll go a long way to us getting wins but also us six making that final 12."
He's vastly more experienced in the green and gold than his younger teammates, but Blanchfield said the thrill of pulling the Boomers singlet on will never get old.
"I love representing my country," he said.
"Every opportunity I get, whether it's the first or the last time, I'm going to wear that singlet exactly the same. It's a really special thing.
"I always had that dream as a young kid and, yeah I've got to do it a few times now, but it never gets old and still gives me goosebumps to think about. I can't wait."
The Hawks Boomers contingent will get their first chance to push their case against Brisbane on the road on Saturday. They'll also have two valuable chances over the final five rounds to show their wares in front of Sydney coach Will Weaver - who will coach the Boomers for the qualifiers in place of the NBA-committed Brett Brown.