For avid basketball fans in the Illawarra, August usually marks the start of the grind known as pre-season. However, with off-season commitments wrapping up and the weather starting to favour the wearing of singlets, five Illawarra stars have dusted off their kits and returned to the Snakepit to get their pre-season underway.
Kevin White is one of the Hawks eager to get started, speaking to hawks.com.au about the upcoming two months of gruelling work.
“Everyone is slowly getting back into the swing of things,” said White.
“Obviously Mitch and Nick are still up with the boomers and being selected in the Australian squad, they’ll be off to Lebanon.
“For the rest of us it’s getting in with BaiMed, Nathan Spencer our strength and conditioning coach and Scott Muttdon our physio and kind of fine tuning, building some strength, power and speed in the gym and then a lot of shooting reps and individual work before everyone gets into town.”
“We’re also out in the community doing our promotional and community engagement work, so that’s basically why we’re in town this early.
“Guys are out basically everyday. I think over the next week or so the guys that are here, Oscar, Tim, AJ and myself pretty much have a promo five or six out of the seven days.
“I think that’s the most important thing to be doing right now.”
As it stands, at least nine Hawks will return under coach Beveridge this season; a prospect that excites White. The pestering defensive first guard said each of his teammates is motivated to push harder and build on last years rich vein of form, kicking off the official pre-season on August 14.
“The first year when we started to put this whole thing together there were seven new guys, this year we return nine,” White continued.
“The most positive thing about keeping nine guys is you can start to advance what we’ve built.
“So the trust is there. We know Rotnei is going to shoot the ball, that Coenraad is going to shoot the ball, we know that AJ is going to rebound and block shots, so having that feel and having that trust in each other is massive.
“I love the group. The group we had last year was just enjoyable.
“Everyday you come in wanting to get work in and you knowing the eight other blokes returning want to work makes it exciting and positive and that’s probably the best thing about it.”
For the first time this season, the Hawks have unveiled a Snapchat account to offer fans a behind the scenes look into life at the club.Nick Kay started the way with behind the scenes from the All-Australian NBL Tour, then AJ Ogilvy jump-started things last week taking fans through his life away from the court, with White taking over to showcase the beginning of the Hawks pre-season.
“I’ve enjoyed it,” said White. “I didn’t really see AJ’s but I definitely know I have him covered. I’d just like Norto to be in town, I don’t know if everyone knows about our relationship, but we take the mickey out of each other a fair bit.
“I’ve had a few people reply to me and when you get a chance to engage and interact with our fans, no matter who it is, it’s awesome.
“I’ve loved it. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to have another crack at it during the year so I can have a dig at Norto and have more fun with it.”