Hawks sign electrifying new import

If his flashy nickname is anything to go by, the Wollongong Hawks might have hit the jackpot with newly signed import Adris Deleon.

Known on the New York playgrounds as ‘2Hard2Guard’, Deleon yesterday became the 11th and final player signed by the Hawks for the 2012-13 NBL season.

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Deleon debuted in Australia last season, averaging a team-high 16.2 points per game for the Gold Coast Blaze.

But the Blaze folded last month, allowing the Hawks to swoop on the electrifying 180cm guard.

One of the NBL’s best players last season, Deleon is represented by the same agent that looks after former Hawks import and 2011 NBL MVP Gary Ervin.

He earned his conspicuous nickname on the New York City street circuit after several show-stealing performances against NBA-calibre players.

‘‘Deleon is a proven player in the NBL,’’ Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod said. ‘‘We’re looking forward to him joining us in Wollongong soon and settling in with the group.

‘‘We looked at our group and what we needed to go with this season and we know what we’re getting with Deleon and what he can bring to the NBL. We feel our fans are going to enjoy his style of play and the charisma he brings on court.’’

Born in the Dominican Republic, Deleon moved with his family to New York at the age of nine.

He attended Eastern Washington University and has had professional playing stints in Spain and the Dominican Republic.

Deleon will arrive in Wollongong early next month and should be cleared to play in the NBL pre-season tournament in Melbourne in mid-September.

‘‘I love playing in Australia,’’ Deleon said.

‘‘The NBL is a great competition and I’m glad to be coming back and playing in Wollongong.

‘‘The Hawks are a great team already. I loved playing against them last year, but now to be joining these guys this season, I’m really looking forward to that …

‘‘Wollongong is a great spot, the fans are loud and I’m looking forward to playing in front of them this season.’’

Meanwhile, the Hawks improved their pre-season record to 3-0 with a 74-67 win over the Sydney Kings last Friday at Terrigal.

Oscar Forman tallied a team-high 21 points and Rhys Martin added 19. Larry Davidson had 13 points and five rebounds.

Tickets for the Hawks’ 2012-13 season-opener at home against the Kings are on sale from Thursday.

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