He goes by the name of DJ and the soundtrack Darryl Jones is playing now is one fans are beginning to hum - if not rock - to in the New Zealand Basketball League.

Jones reveals the Taylor Corporation Hawks are striking notes that resonate with not only the Pettigrew-Green Arena faithful in Napier but also audiences around the country as they sit second on the NBL ladder after five wins on the trot.

"The environment with these guys at the moment is just awesome including all the young guys who are on the bench so it's really a joy to be a part of," says the 33-year-old bench forward.

Captain Jarrod Kenny leads the hosts out against the Taranaki Mountainairs for the third time this season in a 3pm tip-off in the televised round-eight game tomorrow.

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Needless to say Hawks coach Zico Coronel wants his men to keep the volume down on their headsets and not get too carried away with early success, including the 119-82 win here on May 11.

The David Bublitz Mountainairs have eked out two consecutive wins coming here but the Hawks are overwhelming favourites as the best offensive side against an opposition who are building a campaign on the cornerstone of resurgent defence.

Captain Alonzo Burton, of Napier, has tasted victory at the PG Arena in both strips but veteran Aaron Bailey-Nowell, who isn't in the mix tomorrow, had lamented after their round-five defeat here that losing their two imports last month, "with an eye to the future", was a colossal blow to the visitors' campaign.

Conversely the hosts are relishing a high-fiving culture where even training adds value to their incremental growth in the hope of peaking come the playoffs next month.

"It's just a good environment to be a part of where there's no one person who is better than everyone else," says Jones. "Everyone is there for a reason and they're all trying to do the same job and coming across better as a team and as an individual."

The property maintenance labourer has no hesitation in endorsing this unit as the best he's ever been involved with environment-wise in his career.

"It kind of makes me want to carry on playing as long as the body holds up."

Hawks journeyman Darryl Jones says this team environment is the best he's been involved with in his career. Photo / Photosport
Hawks journeyman Darryl Jones says this team environment is the best he's been involved with in his career. Photo / Photosport

So what's with the myriad haircuts? Have they made some sort of pact?

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"Nah, everyone's got different tastes so, you know, some guys like to wear certain clothes so we've got a thing with haircuts," says Jones with laugh, revealing he won't be up for a trim any time soon because Kenny and the other pretty boys can pull it off while he can't.

Jones had answered the Manawatu Jets' SOS last year to play a mentor role which he enjoyed but this year he had informed Coronel he was going to be in the Bay blocks if he was required because he wasn't returning to the other side of the gorge.

In his fifth year with the Hawks, he makes sure he's ready for Coronel's call and mindful his attitude can influence teammates, especially young ones, alongside him on the bench.

Despite losses to the Wellington Saints and the Canterbury Rams, he stresses they are finding more traction with Coronel's three-point philosophy as the season progresses.

"Zico's done a great job with how he wants us to play so he's pretty much got us back to playing hard and consistently as well."

Former Tall Blacks and Hawks coach Tab Baldwin had brought an up-tempo European style of philosophy in 2013 but that brand had fallen flat.

Five-time NBL champion mentor Baldwin, who had turned the team's fortunes around, has revealed he overestimated players' skills to let them play freely without finding chemistry, not to mention ill-fitting imports.

Jones, who came into the equation from Nelson in 2014, says the adroit American was a genius at picking horses for courses.

"Zico's is the same but his principles are a lot faster," he says.

"Every single one of us guys can shoot. Even when you look at our bench everyone can shoot as well so it's hard to defend against us."

Hawks coach Zico Coronel (seated centre) is adopting a similar philosophy to former mentor Tab Baldwin but the principles are based on much faster processes. Photo / Photosport
Hawks coach Zico Coronel (seated centre) is adopting a similar philosophy to former mentor Tab Baldwin but the principles are based on much faster processes. Photo / Photosport

Jones echoes the Hawks' mantra of not tripping on any preconceived notions of Taranaki's susceptibilities even though key guard Derone Raukawa is bracketed with a niggly injury.

He reckons the Mountainairs, perched seventh on the nine-team NBL ladder above the Supercity Rangers and the Jets, can have their day as underdogs because they are not a bad outfit.

"We approach every team as a threat to losing a game so it's a good mindset to be in as a team."

Whether Coronel will rest his marquee players, such as centre Daniel Kickert, or roll them on to create a comfortable buffer before giving his bench valuable minutes is anyone's guess.

"Whether we get time or not, everyone on the bench, including me, are just staying ready because when Zico calls your name you must be ready to go," says Jones.

Proving their collective worth against the Saints and testing the Rams' best defensive record is something he is looking forward to now that the Hawks are more cohesive and compact. They host the former on June 22 and the latter on July 11.

He says the PG Arena faithful play an equally vital role in their success and encourages them to make some noise tomorrow.