THERE was a moment last season where Hawks sharp-shooter Isaac White flicked the switch, it was just a lot earlier than most people thought.
The former Stanford Cardinal was tipped to be a perimeter force having proven an elite shooter at college level, though he admittedly struggled to find his niche in the Hawks rotation.
After a promising start, the 23-year-old found himself "buried on the bench" and feeling the mid-season lull that gripped the entire squad.
Most would pinpoint his 16 points and four rebounds against Adelaide in May as the turning point, but he says the wheels were in motion well before that.
"There were a couple of critical conversations but they probably don't align with [the timing] people think," White said.
"When I was buried on the bench I was having conversations with coaches, teammates and my support network and I was trying to have that breakthrough moment.
"Whether it was in my own head or in the eyes of the coaches, I was really striving for that moment a lot earlier than it actually happened.
"When we went to Adelaide it was a situation where (Daniel) Grida got hurt and I had to play a bunch of minutes. I hit some shots early and things flowed from there.
"I guess that was the breakthrough moment but it was in the works weeks and months before that, I was pushing for something to change."
White was a 40 per cent three-point in his final season at Stanford but, with the likes of Tyler Harvey and Justinian Jessup patrolling the perimeter, White knew he had to bring something different to the table.
He found that at the defensive end, emerging as a dogged on-ball defender. It bought more minutes on the floor and the chance for his offensive game to flow.
"Throughout the entire year I was trying to find ways to break into the rotation," he said.
"I didn't know the answer at the start of the year. Obviously we had Justinian Jessup, who can do a lot of what I can do to a higher level at this point.
"I needed something to separate myself. Goorj (Brian Goorjian) gave a little bit of feedback but it's not necessarily the coach's role to give me the absolute blueprint.
"Being smaller in stature, I think I'm one of the fittest guys in the NBL and I realised I could use my fitness and quickness to be effective [defensively] in the full-court.
"I think Goorj always had full confidence in me shooting the ball, he just wanted more out of me on the defensive end. I had to figure that out for myself."
It saw a significant jump in minutes and scoring output at an average of seven points a game over his side's final 10 outings.
''As a shooter you're going to go through hot-and-cold spells, it's been like that my whole life," White said.
"It was just my overall basketball confidence, I knew once I could contribute on the defensive end I wouldn't have to look over my shoulder as much in terms of getting subbed out.
"I didn't need to force anything, I could relax and let my game come through. My role was pretty clear with Tyler (Harvey) as a ball-dominant guard.
"I knew what my spots were and that made it easy to let my game flow and that's probably when I played my best basketball."
After carving out that niche, he's confident he can hit the ground running in his second season in Wollongong after knocking back approaches from rivals during free agency.
"I definitely did feel I had some unfinished business [with the Hawks] but, this early in my career, it's really important to make the best decision for me," he said.
"I did talk to couple of teams but I felt that my position at the Hawks was definitely the best. I've got a lot of trust in Goorj and he in me.
"I kind of established myself as a solid on-ball defender and a perimeter threat, so I thought I could definitely come into this group knowing what my role is and them knowing what my strengths are.
"I think we have a younger core that's built something really special over the last year or so and I love being a part of that."