Big man Harry Froling has a 'fire in the belly' as he launches an NBL title quest with the Illawarra Hawks on Sunday.
Froling and his Illawarra teammates flew to Adelaide on Friday ahead of their NBL season opener against the 36ers. The trip is a homecoming of sorts for the 23-year-old, who spent two seasons in South Australia's capital city between 2018 and 2020.
But Froling's loyalties now lay with the Hawks and, after a long pre-season, he wants to make a big impact.
"I'm still only 23 and I think I've got a point to prove. The coaching staff is helping me get better and putting me in a position to be successful, and hopefully I can contribute, be a good teammate and hopefully I can let my game do the talking. But I think I've shown in the past that I can be a 20 and 10 (points and rebounds) guy in this league," Froling told the Mercury.
"This year, there's less expectations on me and people seem to write me off a bit, which puts a little fire in the belly. But I'm not coming into please anyone this year, I'm coming in to hopefully win a championship and I think that's what everyone's mentality should be because we have a very talented group. There's going to have to be sacrifices along the way, but hopefully the boys can pull it off this year."
Froling - who has played more than 100 games for Townsville, the 36ers and Bullets since his debut in 2015 - signed with the Hawks in July, joining younger brother Sam on the roster.
And while Sam is also experienced, having been in Wollongong since May 2019, this season is the first time that the duo have played together in the NBL.
It's an opportunity that excites the elder sibling.
"Playing with Sam is a pretty special thing. Getting to see him every day and hang out with every day has been cool, and we've never really played together besides some domestic competition stuff when we were little," Froling said.
"It's exciting to see where he is going in his career, so hopefully I can help him and he can help me along the way. Hopefully together we can have a big year."
For now, Froling's focus remains on the 36ers, who were crowned pre-season champions last weekend.
The club's roster has almost completely overhauled since Froling departed - with only Daniel Johnson remaining - but the 6 foot 11 talent looks forward to taking on the 36ers on Sunday.
"It's nature of the sport with the direction they went in when they turned over that group. When I came back here (last time), I thought I'd try catch up with them, but there was only Daniel Johnson left," Froling said.
"I've obviously had a stopover at Brisbane since playing in Adelaide, but I remember I hit a little shit over the back of my head here, and I also had my career high here against Sydney, so I have some really fond memories here. I always love coming back here and playing these guys."
This year, there's less expectations on me and people seem to write me off a bit, which puts a little fire in the belly.- Harry Froling
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