Fledgling Hawk Ellis has to hit the ground running


Hawks coach Rob Beveridge.

Illawarra coach Rob Beveridge likened the Hawks’ new-look plan of attack to a tag-team wrestling match after Monday’s signing of former Sydney Kings forward Cody Ellis.

The Hawks roster is legitimately 10-deep with the addition of Ellis and Beveridge makes no secret of his intention to regularly rotate players during games.

Illawarra’s projected starting five is Rhys Martin and Kevin Lisch at the guard positions, AJ Ogilvy at centre and Oscar Forman and Kirk Penney at the forward spots.

Backing them up from the bench is the very capable unit of Tyson Demos, Kevin White, Larry Davidson, Cody Ellis and Tim Coenraad.

Beveridge wants to play a high-speed game with a strong emphasis on scoring.

“I don’t want anyone cruising at 80 per cent. The style we play, I expect the players to play at 100 per cent every single time they’re on the floor,” the former Perth coach said.

“It’ll be a bit like tag-team wrestling where people will be going in and out and we’ll play with that high energy and no let-up. That’s the style we have to play, rather than walk it up the floor and play half-court.

“We’re going to try and outwork teams as much as we can and, because of the way we’re going to play the game, I want every single player on the court to be an offensive threat.”

Ellis spent the past two years with the Kings and is the son of Perth Wildcats legend Mike Ellis.

Beveridge expects the 203-centimetres forward to blossom in the company of former NBL MVPs Lisch and Penney.

“Cody’s the youngest guy in the group and we want to nurture him into a great player,” he said.

“He’s very versatile and has the ability to shoot the three and play inside, which will make him hard to defend. He’s a very good competitor and will fit very well into our team.

“Having players like Penney and Lisch around him will teach him how to compete.

“He plays hard, but they can take guys like Cody and AJ Ogilvy to another level. Cody can get after it and I think he doesn’t realise how good he can be. At times he cruises, but when he goes, he goes.

“It’s a matter of getting him to play hard and push himself consistently and, with the environment we’re putting him in, he won’t have a choice.”

Penney is the only player on the roster yet to arrive in Wollongong.

The well-travelled Kiwi is due to start training with the Hawks early next month. “He’s a smart player … he’ll pick things up real quick,” Beveridge said.

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