Pre-season is one thing, but Lachlan Olbrich says he wants to emulate his form from the Blitz into round one when the Hawks face the Sydney Kings.
Olbrich raised plenty of eyebrows during Illawarra's run in the Blitz on the Gold Coast. The UC Riverside freshman, who joined the Hawks on a three-year deal in April, top-scored against Cairns with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals as the Hawks won 108-90.
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.
Prior to the Taipans match, he 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.
"I'm trying to maintain the bar I set now and my job is to not go below that and only build on it," he said.
"I'm just going to give it my all every game. But I think I got a lot of my shots by just working hard and crashing every rebound and getting into open spots. My teammates have been passing me the ball when I'm wide open.
"I was happy with my game overall [at the Blitz]. But there's lots and lots to improve on and keep building. I've just got to maintain that level and don't drop below it any more. I think I definitely played better on some mismatches. Some guys weren't familiar with my game and what I could do, which helped out for sure.
"I think definitely I had to adapt, especially the first time hitting the floor it felt different. I lost my breath quicker, I had to adapt to the climb."
"I think it'd be really good to come out and beat the two time champs and really bring it to them and show them that the Hawks are the team to beat this year."
Hawks coach Jacob Jackomas previously said that he was not surprised about the form of Olbrich.
"He hasn't been a surprise at all. This is what we have expected of him," he said previously.
"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."