Gary Clark has urged his young team-mates in particular to remain positive during this difficult period for the Illawarra Hawks.
A loss to the Sydney Kings on Friday night has seen the Hawks slump to a 2/6 win/loss record heading into a tough period, which will see Illawarra play three road games, starting with a trip to Cairns next Saturday night.
Ex-NBA big man Clark came to the Hawks with big wraps but struggled to find his feet early on in the "physical" NBL.
Though the power forward has found his feet in recent weeks and now averages 15 points, 1.4 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game from his eight outings to date.
Clark was especially impressive against Sydney.
He deservedly took home the Tyson Demos Medal for being the Hawks' player-of-the-match, contributing 23 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals in the Indigenous Round fixture at WIN Entertainment Centre.
Clark was happy to be playing well but stressed as a senior player his role also was to keep his young team-mates positive, especially when the club was struggling on-court.
"It's important to remain positive because it's easy for guys, especially young guys that may not play a lot or guys that play a little to go into a box and think 'you know, if I'm doing the right thing and I'm still not playing, we're not winning'.......just keeping guys to stay locked in within that space so that guys don't go rogue," he said.
"You know young guys start losing themselves in the social media world and we're not winning and they want to play more and they think they have it figured out or know what we should do better.
"It's just keeping guys in a box like coach says, the guys that are hungry, play multiple possessions defensively can stay on the court and be ready to contribute."
Clark added he shared coach Jacob Jackomas' frustration at the Hawks continual defensive lapses during games.
"Who am I to say X, Y aren't doing their jobs. I struggled early on and it was ugly," he said.
"But I think the biggest piece right now is guys not being positive when they're not a part of what's happening offensively.......that kind of pours into our defence," he said.
"At times we have multiple guys that aren't defensive minded guys on the court and one little lapse and it's like everything falls apart.
"With this team, it's not good enough just to guard on one side reversal, [Sydney] make you go to the other side and then a third time......,either the second or third or the first, we fall apart. It's not good enough to guard one reversal with a team like that, you got to guard multiple reversals, be low man and box out.
"At the moment it's like coach said, sometimes it's on the first possession where it just falls apart where guys aren't ready."
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