Men's SBL Season Preview – Perry Lakes Hawks
THE Perry Lakes Hawks came closer than anyone to knocking off the Joondalup Wolves last season and now there is every chance they have improved further for the 2016 Men's SBL campaign.
After missing out on the playoffs in 2014, the Hawks got back to the post-season in 2015 but only just with a 12-14 record to finish in eighth position.
That set up a clash with the Wolves in the quarter finals and Perry Lakes almost pulled off what would have been a remarkable upset. Perry Lakes did win Game 2 in a two-point thriller after losing Game 1 by a solitary point.
While the Wolfpack squeaked by in the third game, the Hawks had given them a real scare.
Now for coach Charles Nix his focus is on consolidating on what was done, and building upon it which appears to have been successful coming into the new season.
Departures have been kept to a minimum with the Hawks with Mike Krumel, Cory Richardson and James Eilliot the most significant losses.
But the gains are significant particularly in the frontcourt with Perry Lakes signing Jordan Hickert who averaged 7.3 points and 4.1 rebounds last season in a South West Slammers team that made it all the way to the grand final.
Brian Carlwell also arrives to provide a monstrous presence in the paint and suddenly that pair make Perry Lakes a force inside.
Then there import guard Bryton Hobbs. After a slightly slow start last year and then a knee injury, he returned and proved himself an almost unstoppable force in the SBL.
He ended up averaging 29.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.7 steals while shooting 42.6 per cent from the field and 35.8 from downtown.
He again appears capable of taking them a long way in 2016 with the help of quality players Ben Purser, Rob Cassir, Josh Garlepp and Ryan Smith.
Ben Dixon will have benefited from being part of the Perth Wildcats team that won an NBL championship.
At the SBL Blitz, the Hawks scored wins over the Geraldton Buccaneers, Stirling Senators and Country team while going down to the Kalamunda Eastern Suns.
The Hawks begin their season on Saturday March 19 on the road to the Goldfields Giants before their home opener on Easter Thursday at Bendat Basketball Centre against the Mandurah Magic.
Brian Carlwell (restricted), Jake Cannell, Rob Cassir, Finn Hombergen, Bryton Hobbs (restricted), Trent Criddle, Ryan Smith, Nick Ryan, Jackson Simkovic, Josh Garlepp, Julian Mancini, Ben Dixon, Ryan O'Sullivan, Ben Purser, Jordan Hickert
Coach – Charles Nix
Championship winning coach – ADAM FORDE
PREDICTION – 4th
They were almost the giant killers last season taking the Wolves to three games in the quarter finals. This year they are in prime position to do the same with the addition Brian Carlwell and Jordan Hickert. And with a fit Rob Cassir it adds depth, which should help free up Ben Purser from carrying all the workload.
SBL Slam Radio Host - MATT CECINS
PREDICTION – 2nd
Came within a whisker of causing a boil over in the 2016 quarter finals. Bryton Hobbs is a dynamic point guard who is an offensive weapon. Ben Purser and Josh Garlepp still remain the heart and soul of a talented line-up in 2016. Ben Dixon will no doubt have improved his game within the Wildcats setup and the addition of a former SBL Champion Brian Carlwell make the Hawks a tricky matchup for any opponent. One of the shrewdest signings this season is Jordan Hickert who can stretch the floor offensively at power forward.
PREDICTION – 3rd
Bryton Hobbs took a few games but proved an SBL superstar last season and if the bigs department was a problem for the Hawks in 2015, Charles Nix has recruited for exactly what he needs adding 206cm Hickert and 211cm Carlwell. Dixon should be better again after another season with the Wildcats and Nixy is going to have some fun with the artillery at his disposal with a good mix of shooters, guards, athletic forwards and bigs. My big improvers and on match-ups should be the team the Wolves fear the most.
Article by Chris Pike
Photo by Grant Lauterbach Photography