On fire Illawarra Hawks big man Lachlan Olbrich is sure to feature prominently for the club in its NBL season opener against the Sydney Kings at WIN Entertainment Stadium next Saturday night.
For the second game running Olbrich starred for the Hawks as they closed out their NBL Blitz campaign with a 108-90 victory over the Cairns Taipans on Friday night.
The UC Riverside freshman, who joined the Hawks on a three-year deal in April, top-scored with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.
The breakout performance came just two nights after Olbrich came off the bench to top score with 20 points and contribute three assists and two rebounds in Illawarra's 95-88 win over the Brisbane Bullets.
Hawks coach Jacob Jackomas was impressed but not surprised the new recruit was hitting his straps heading into the season opener.
Jackomas reiterated the comments of his skipper Sam Froling, stating Olbrich's best was yet to come.
"He hasn't been a surprise at all. This is what we have expected of him," he said.
"As the year goes on we're expecting more and more from him, as we are of everyone on the roster."
Jackomas said the three Blitz games served as good preparation for the Hawks heading into their much anticipated showdown against the reigning back-to-back NBL champions Kings.
"We got a lot out of these three games, which is good heading into our first game of the season," he said.
"Some of our performances [in the Blitz] were better than others. Even the game we lost [against Melbourne United] we took parts out of it, of what our brand is, and what isn't.
"The Melbourne game there were certain parts to the way we want to play. In the Brisbane game there was a bit more than that and then last night was a different type of game.
"[Cairns] had a bunch of guys that didn't play but on the flip side with that, they had a bunch of guys very desperate, probably trying to prove to their coach that they can play for him.
"For the majority of the game we played the way we wanted to play.
"We've got some good film now to make some corrections and then finally it is just figuring out what our rotation is going to be come game one, because we do have a bit of talent."
That talent includes Adelaide-born Olbrich. The 19-year-old played three NBL games for the Adelaide 36ers in the 2021/22 season before heading to the USA to play for UCI Riverside College.
In March this year Olbrich and his UC Riverside squad faced the Hawks in a game where he left a lasting impression on the organisation after starring with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
He was signed to a three-year deal a few weeks after.
Speaking to the Mercury ahead of the Blitz, Olbrich said he was loving life in Wollongong.
"I'm basically coming off living in America in a dorm room to coming to my own apartment in Wollongong. It feels good. I like being independent, it feels like a new life for me kind of in a way," Olbrich said.
"The guys here are great. The chemistry within the team is really good.
"I think from my players perspective in the locker room, it's all great. Everyone gets along with each other. We're like-minded guys.
"If someone's not doing the right thing, another player will pick them up on it, so I think we're in a really good spot mentally as a group."
Personally Olbrich hopes to impact the team in a winning way.
"I like to try and be that modern day big man that can stretch the floor and dribble up up the court when needed. But my role is to do what the coach wants from me to help the team win," he said.
Our news app has had a makeover, making it faster and giving you access to even more great content.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.