Dan Grida says Trentyn Flowers' 18 points in a quarter earlier this season has left his side wary of Next Stars.

7 Dec
By Dan Woods for

The Illawarra Hawks have already been on the receiving end of one stellar Next Star performance in NBL24, and they’re mindful of the impact projected number one pick Alexandre Sarr will have on Friday night’s clash against the Wildcats.

Illawarra looked set to register a much-needed win against Adelaide in Round 3, however 18 points in the final quarter from Trentyn Flowers saw the 36ers emerge as nine-point winners on a heartbreaking night for the Hawks.

Since that night Illawarra has endured a rollercoaster of a season. Jacob Jackomas has since left the club, Justin Tatum has taken over in the head coaching position, and things look like they’re starting to turn for last season’s cellar-dwellers.

Dan Grida says that torching at the hands of Flowers has left the club cautious about how Next Stars have the ability to change a game.

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“Trentyn Flowers had 18 points in a quarter against us earlier in the year, so we’re really locked into those special young players who can come out there and torch you at any one time,” Grida told SEN WA.

“Sarr has been a huge focus for us, and he’s a lot bigger than any of the guys we have so we need to get physical with him and try to throw him off a little bit that way.

“Obviously, the big focal point is Bryce (Cotton). We’ve been doing a lot of work at practice on him and how we’re going to handle him in different situations.

“Then also we’ve been talking a lot about guys like Jesse (Wagstaff) and Hyrum (Harris) ... guys who come in and get their offensive rebounds and they’re kind of the glue guys.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Trentyn Flowers went ??? ?<br><br>The 18-year-old Next Star’s fourth quarter explosion led the <a href="">@adelaide36ers</a> to thier first W of NBL24 ?<br><br>Brought to you by <a href="">@hungryjacksau</a> ? <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; NBL (@NBL) <a href="">October 15, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

The task of stopping the likes of Sarr, Harris, Wagstaff and starting center Keanu Pinder will largely come down to the one-two post punch of Sam Froling and Lachie Olbrich for the Hawks.

Froling was recently challenged on NBL Now by Hawks legend Damon Lowery to take his game from good to great, and has been steadily improving across his five seasons in the NBL.

The 23-year-old is averaging just under 14 points and nine rebounds per game in NBL24.

Olbrich, on the other hand, has experienced a difficult start to his professional career after catching eyes with some stellar performances at the pre-season Bitz.

“Sam and I have known each other forever – since back at the AIS – I’ve bene his roommate for the last seven years or something and he’s getting better every year,” Grida said.

“He definitely has the potential to be a future MVP of this league and he’s in some really good form right now. People forget he’s 23 years old and he’s been in the league for five years now and got better every year. I’m really excited to see where his career goes.

“With Lachlan Olbrich, he does some thing I’ve never seen before. He’s an Aussie kid that will go up there and dunk on everyone.

“He’s exciting and I’m pumped to see where both our big men end up. It’s been a good ride with those two.”

Illawarra and Perth face off on Friday night from 7:30pm AEDT.

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