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LaMelo no distraction for Wildcats

Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson is adamant the LaMelo Ball circus won't be a distraction for the NBL champions as they look to build upon a gritty opening-round win.

The US teen sensation will be the headline act at Perth Arena on Friday night when his Illawarra Hawks take on the Wildcats.

Expected to be a top-five NBA draft pick next year, 18-year-old Ball finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals as the Hawks lost 90-81 to the Brisbane Bullets in their season-opener in Wollongong on Sunday.

A hostile atmosphere could await the star point guard with a near-sellout crowd expected at the 13,500-capacity venue.

Having witnessed LaMelo-mania during the pre-season NBL Blitz event, Gleeson says the Wildcats will be equally wary of the likes of Aaron Brooks, Todd Blanchfield and Andrew Ogilvy.

"We probably got a little bit of a taste of it down in Hobart which was good for our season," Gleeson told reporters on Thursday.

"But we know it's more than just one player - Brooks is very good, Blanchfield is good, Ogilvy, and they've got some young fellas.

"They're a pretty talented team. We're more worried about the team than one person."

Gleeson was expecting a more "locked-in" performance from the Cats, who unfurled their championship banner last week before securing a nailbiting win over Melbourne United.

Having looked off the pace early, the Wildcats rediscovered their trademark defensive intensity after halftime and ran over the title favourites.

"I really liked our grit out there," Gleeson said.

"Melbourne shot the ball extremely well and executed really well. A number of times, we could have just said 'it's not our night. They're shooting the ball really well'.

"But we just stayed in the fight. We kept on going and kept on going and in the last two minutes, we got a little bit of momentum and the Red Army helped us over the line.

"I thought the second half was more in line with what we are as a great defensive team when we're all switched on."