“Ecstatic” was the reaction of new Taylor Hawks head coach Everard Bartlett at the announcement that they have secured another key player in their quest for 2023 Sal’s NBL glory, with the signing of fan favourite Hyrum Harris.
“[Harris] was definitely one that we were trying to secure from the get-go. [He’s] a massive part of the direction that JK [general manager Jarrod Kenny] and I want to take the Hawks this year. He’s been a massive part of the culture over the past couple of years,” said Bartlett.
The 26-year-old forward will be returning for his fourth season with the Hawks, and Bartlett knows he’ll be a vital part of the squad the Hawks are putting together.
“He knows how to win. He brings that winning mentality. He may not top-score, he may not have the most assists, but I guarantee you, myself, JK and the fans of basketball in Hawke’s Bay all agree that he has a massive influence on the outcome of a game.”
After stints with the Illawarra Hawks and Cairns Taipans, Harris is currently in his second season with the Adelaide 36ers in the Australian NBL competition.
The 36ers started the season as one of the championship favourites after defeating the NBA’s Phoenix Suns pre-season, but currently lie eighth of 10 in the standings, with three regular season games remaining. Despite that, Bartlett is more than happy with what he’s seen from Harris.
“He has had one of the higher efficiency ratings in that team, even though they are not performing to their goals this year. I feel that efficiency has meant a lot of Australians have taken notice [of him] and he has done really well with the opportunities that he’s been given.”
The signing of Harris comes on the back of the recent announcement that 25-year-old Tall Black Jordan Hunt will return to the Hawks for a third season. Under the NBL competition rules, each of the 10 teams must sign a minimum of 12 players, with the upper limit set at 18 players per squad.
“Recruitment is ongoing. We’re trying to get a group together – locking in key signings is major for us. I really want a balanced team.”
The Hawks will start their season with an away game against Franklin Bulls on April 6, with their first home fixture at Pettigrew Green Arena on April 15 against Taranaki Airs.