Dyson Daniels admits it only seems like yesterday that he was running around Bendigo Stadium playing for the Braves' under-12s.
In the blink of an eye the 18-year-old has just represented Australia at the FIBA Under-19 World Cup and next month he moves to the United States to play for Ignite in the G-League.
"It's so surreal,'' Daniels said from hotel quarantine this week.
"I'm very lucky to get the opportunities I've been given to represent my country and then go to the USA to play in one of the best leagues in the world.
"I'm over the moon to get these opportunities, but I always remember where I've come from in Bendigo and the people who've helped me get to where I am.
"I'm looking forward to taking the next steps."
Those next steps are aimed towards earning selection in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Daniels did his draft prospects no harm at the recent FIBA Under-19 World Cup in Latvia.
He averaged 14 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists to be clearly Australia's premier player.
Daniels' team first approach ensured the tournament left a sour taste in his mouth as the Aussies finished 10th.
"It was disappointing because we went into the tournament with high expectations,'' Daniels said.
"We dropped a couple of games that we really needed to win. The pool game against Turkey we lost hurt us and then we dropped the game to Spain which put us out of the top eight.
"It was tough competition because there were some good teams, but we had a few things that went wrong.
"We turned the ball over a bit too much, teams outworked us and we couldn't get our offence going.
"It was a tough result, but there was lots to learn from it.
"Individually, I was pretty happy with the way I played, but there were some things I could do better.
"I thought I could have led the team a little bit better and taken more ownership when things weren't going well."
Importantly, he saved his best game for the clash with eventual champions the USA.
Daniels scored 18 points to go with five rebounds and four assists.
"I got a few things going, hit some threes and got my floater going,'' he said.
"To play well against some of the top USA players was good."
After returning from Latvia, Daniels still has one week of his hotel quarantine to serve.
The teenager said he was coping "okay" with being stuck in a hotel room.
"I've got my PlayStation and I've done a few Zoom calls and some workouts,'' Daniels said.
"The NBA Finals have been on and that was good to watch."
The start of the Olympics has come at a good time for Daniels, who was keen to watch the Boomers try to win Australia's first medal in men's basketball.
This week's news that Brisbane had earned the right to host the 2021 Olympics also brought a smile to his face.
Daniels will be 29 in 2032.
"Representing Australia at the Olympics is a goal of mine and to do that on home soil would be even more special,'' he said.
After completing quarantine, Daniels will make a quick trip back to Bendigo to see his family before heading to the United States to start his G-League career.
He'll be based in Walnut Creek in California.
"I'll be living in an apartment with some of my team-mates,'' Daniels said.
"It's a safe area and there's plenty of shops around the area.
"I'm looking forward to it."
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