TESSA Lavey's reaction to Kristi Harrower's decision to play on for the Bendigo Bank Spirit perfectly sums up why the WNBL champions were so keen to recruit the young point guard.
Although Lavey now stands to receive less court time this season, the bright and bubbly 20-year-old sees that Harrower's return will strengthen the Spirit, while it also gives her the chance to learn from one of her basketball heroes.
Asked how she felt when Harrower announced she would continue, Lavey said: "I was actually really excited because it's going to stand us in good stead to get another championship.
"I'm looking forward just to watching her and to be able to hopefully mimic her in some way on the court.
"Just being able to train against Kristi and learn from what she does and how she goes about it, I'm just looking forward to that."
Playing for the Spirit is something of a homecoming for Lavey.
The 170cm guard played junior basketball in Swan Hill before her parents moved the family to Bendigo, where she studied for a year at Catholic College.
Lavey seized a chance to move to Canberra in 2009 and played three WNBL seasons for the Australian Institute of Sport before swapping clubs to the Canberra Capitals last year.
She's already got 42 WNBL matches under he belt and that experience coupled with her Australian under-age youth team success - which includes a bronze medal at July's World University Games in Russia - has helped Lavey slot straight in at the Spirit.
"You don't feel nervous either because the girls and (coach) Bernie (Harrower) are really confident in your ability," Lavey said.
Lavey has played in all four of the Spirit's warm-up games and should be on the plane to Townsville for the season-opener this Friday night.
Last year's runner-up has bolstered its line-up and is expected to challenge for the title again.
"They've got a young group and it will be a challenge for us," Lavey said. "Because it's the start of the season it will be a big step-up I think."