New Hawk feels at home

New Hawks signing Auryn MacMillan at training. Picture: DAVE TEASEA few friendly comments from strangers was all it took for new Wollongong Hawks signing Auryn MacMillan to feel like he had come to the right place.

MacMillan officially joined the Hawks on a one-year deal yesterday, becoming the 10th player on the roster for the 2012-13 NBL season.

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The former Kilsyth junior’s signing came a day after Wollongong acquired American guard Lance Hurdle.

A 204-centimetre forward, MacMillan couldn’t wait to make his debut in Hawks colours in tonight’s pre-season trial against the Sydney Kings at Gosford.

‘‘I’m really looking forward to it,’’ he said.

‘‘It’ll be good to actually get and have a run against another NBL team. It’ll be a whole other step to play against an NBL squad.’’

MacMillan has been playing with the Kilsyth Cobras in the South East Australian Basketball League and is still in the process of moving to the Gong.

Venturing into town for a meal on Wednesday night, he was struck by how many curious well-wishers he met.

‘‘I went and got some dinner in a Hawks jersey and everyone’s pretty interested, even just people in the street,’’ the 25-year-old said.

‘‘I had several people talking to me already and it’s a real positive thing.

‘‘I really, really like the club. The whole community-ownership concept and the level of involvement the club has in the community … it’s fantastic.

‘‘The vibe I get from the club is great. The team, the coaching staff, everyone in the office. It’s a really close-knit family club.’’

MacMillan has had previous try-outs with Melbourne and Adelaide and is ecstatic to finally break into the NBL.

‘‘I guess I’ve kind of been on the brink for a little bit and it’s good to finally take that next step,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s certainly something I’ve aspired to be a part of. It’s the highest level in Australia and probably one of the better leagues in the world. To get that opportunity is fantastic.’’

The Hawks have 10 players under contract for next season and are very close to completing the roster with an American point guard. Hurdle is due to arrive in Australia on Sunday.

Meanwhile, forward Dave Gruber strained his lower back during Wednesday’s training session and won’t play in tonight’s clash with the Kings.

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