Tall Blacks player and former Hawks captain Jarrod Kenny is expected to rejoin the Taylor Corporation-sponsored Hawke's Bay side in time for next week's crucial match against Sal's National Basketball League favourites Wellington Saints.
The expected arrival was confirmed today by Hawks general manager Amy Price, with Kenny expected to arrive in Napier in the days ahead of the June 18 game, having completed his Australian NBL commitments with Cairns Taipans.
The arrival will mean a near-complete roster. Big man Jordan Hunt has played two games since arriving from the Taipans earlier this month and is expected to play in the 3rd-placed Hawks match against the 4th-placed Otago Nuggets in the Pettigrew.Green Arena on Saturday night.
Having hit the halfway stage of the 10-team, 18-round home-and-away regular season with 6 wins and 3 losses, it's an important top-four clash, the Nuggets having a 5-and-4 record after winning last year's limited NBL Showdown in a bubble environment in Auckland.
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Crucial for the Hawks is the home-court advantage at the Pettigrew.Green Arena in Taradale, in what will be the first of the sides' two matchups this season. The Nuggets will have had a tough two days, having played the Canterbury Rams in Christchurch on Thursday night.
Next Friday (June 18), the Hawks have home advantage for the first of two long-awaited games against the 11-times champion franchise and 2019 winners Wellington Saints, who go into this weekend with just one loss on their record, last weekend in Invercargill against the Southland Sharks.
The Hawks opened with home wins over Canterbury, Southland and the Nelson Giants, and started a five-match away sequence with a win over the Taranaki Mountainairs, before successive losses to the Auckland Huskies and in return matches against Nelson and Canterbury. The side regained winning form against the Franklin Bulls in Pukekohe last week, and back home with a revenge victory over the Huskies in Napier on Sunday.
The Hawks have had 14 on the court, with Devondrick Walker (19.8), skipper Ethan Rusbatch (18.3) and Hyrum Harris (14.2) heading the scoring averages.
The remaining Hawks matches are: June 12 v Otago Nuggets (home 7.30pm), June 18 Wellington Saints (home 7.30pm); June 20 v Manawatu Jets (away, 3pm), June 26, v Franklin Bulls (home 7.30pm); June 27, v Wellington Saints (away 5pm); July 3 v Otago Nuggets (away 7.30pm), July 4 v Southland Sharks (away 5pm), July 10 v Taranaki Mountainairs (home 7.30pm), July 15 v Manawatu Jets (home 7.30pm).
The semi-finals (Top 4) are on July 22 and the final the next night.