Hawks interim head coach Justin Tatum is using the extended FIBA break to fine-tune his playing rotation ahead of Illawarra's next game on December 3. Player rotation was an issue for Jacob Jackomas before he was sacked by Illawarra last week after guiding the Hawks to only five wins from his 37 games as head coach. Tatum told the Mercury on Wednesday that he was looking to settle on 'eight or nine players' to play more minutes moving forward. The rookie coach started life as interim head coach with a gritty win over the New Zealand Breakers last Sunday to improve the Hawks' win/loss record to 3-7. But with Illawarra not due to play again until they travel to Brisbane on December 3 to play the Bullets, Tatum plans on using the next 10 days or so to get players used to his system and way of thinking. "It's now all about finding our nucleus, our top eight or nine that is going to push us through the tough times and help us win games. The rest of the support system is going to be there, they understand their role and are always going to be there," he said. "But now it is about fine-tuning those eight or nine guys that are definitely going to play a lot of minutes and help us with our rotation in games." Tatum conceded rotations had been an issue for the Hawks and needed to be improved on moving forward. "it's definitely something that has been a problem and we are working on it," he said. "I mean we have 12 talented guys and I can always look at the bench and say, 'hey, you go in and do a job'. "But then I also got to understand these guys have to get a rhythm and as we learn that and learn what their rhythms are and how many chances they get a chance to get into that rhythm before we put a sub in, it's definitely something we have to work on in the next couple of weeks." Tatum reiterated his desire to remain with the Hawks beyond this season and hopefully be appointed head coach on a permanent basis. He also stressed that while he was ecstatic to get a first-up win, the hard work was just beginning for him and his players. "It was pretty exciting. I was nervous building up to that point, but it was nerves of excitement. "My guys had a really good week of practice that week and they was assuring me that they'll come out and play hard, play different. To win was great," he said. "We were battle tested, we fought through it and came out with a victory. "We have a bit of a break now where we have got to start getting adjusted to the style that I'm trying to get these guys to play. I think the break is going to be good for us. "The win was great to come into the break on, but now we need to tone it down because one win is not good enough for us. "We will really enjoy this break so we can tighten up a few things." Tatum, father of NBA superstar Jayson, was happy with the Hawks defence in their 69-65 victory over the Breakers but said the Hawks still had to improve offensively and defensively moving forward. "I mean, 69 points is not this type of team. But I can't fault the effort after the adversity this team has had to go through. "I'm glad also that we were able to hit free throws and come with an offensive rebound to help us get that win. But we're not a 69-point team," he said. "So once we do some fine tuning and have a couple of good days of practice and get guys in their spots, I think we have more points than that." Best known for his success coaching in American high schools, Tatum said he was enjoying working with the Hawks players, who he said had adapted well to his appointment as interim head coach. "They've been great. They heard my voice within the last few months so it wasn't as if someone had come off the streets to coach these guys, so they've got a familiarity with me already, which has helped," he said. "They also understand what position I'm in, which is a tough one. "Hearing them say they have my back and they are going to come to practise ready to work everyday, and they would trust that I would instil for the program what's best for us and we'll play for me, was good to hear." Tatum added he was using the rest of the season to get better as a head coach and hopefully audition for the top job on a permanent basis. Tatum, who was a North American talent scout and advisor for the Hawks before taking up his position as an assistant, has not been informed of the length of his interim tenure. "It's a great audition for me," he said. "For me it's a good opportunity to also learn how to become a better head coach and learn the ways of the professional league. "This is a great opportunity and I'm gonna take advantage of it. "I'm excited about th enext game. Illawarra fans hopefully have something good to look forward to over the next month in December. "We are a very competitive, fun team that should have been doing well in the beginning, but now it's here, we're ready to get started."