ILLAWARRA big man Duop Reath makes no secret of his desire to emulate Boomers teammate Jock Landale's rise to the NBA - and he doesn't plan on skipping a single step.
It bodes well for the Hawks faithful given Landale spearheaded Melbourne United to an NBL championship last season en route to the Tokyo Olympics and an NBA contract with San Antonio.
There are plenty of good judges who feel Reath could be a comparable presence with the Hawks this season given the striking similarities he and Landale share.
Both are still just 25, both are impossibly athletic bigs that can stretch the floor and protect the rim, and both recently came into possession of an Olympic Bronze Medal.
Beyond that, the similarities stretch back even further. Both were late bloomers at college level, enjoying their breakout campaigns as juniors - Landale at St Mary's and Reath at LSU.
Both also began their professional careers in Europe before looping back around to the NBL. It's a clear path to follow, but Reath says team success is the true common denominator.
"I feel like everything starts with the success of the team," Reath said.
"Obviously Jock came here and won a championship, [Melbourne United] had a great year and he got where he got. If your team has success, individually, everyone's going to have success in their career.
"The main objective is always the team first and individual goals have to come after the team. I feel like I can see an [NBA] pathway but, at the same time, I want to really work on myself as a player and be the best player I can be.
"If that stuff comes it comes, if it doesn't, you just keep working."
Perhaps most exciting is the fact he's far from the finished product. South Sudan-born, Perth-raised, he only took up the sport in year 10 at high school.
He spent his freshman and sophomore seasons at community college in Texas before switching to LSU as a junior.
Averaging 12 points and five rebounds over two stellar seasons put him on the path to pro contracts in Europe and ultimately a spot on Boomers coach Brian Goorjian's Tokyo squad.
For a guy who was thrilled to simply rub shoulders with the country's elite at selection camps, the Boomers 'rose gold' campaign was beyond what Reath ever expected.
"Growing up every kid dreams of playing the highest level and the Olympics is the pinnacle, it's the highest of the high," he said.
"Just being mentioned at the Olympic trials was a big accomplishment. To then get selected was a big blessing for me and I feel it was a reward for the hard work I've put in throughout my career.
"It's helped me understand I've got to keep working hard to get those opportunities again. They don't come around often and they don't come around without hard work and dedication.
"You've got to have some luck on your side too and I felt like everything went my way and I'm really grateful for it."
It continued a dramatically steep upward trajectory and Reath is certain prolonging his time under Goorjian in Wollongong can push him toward and even higher ceiling.
"We really got to know each other through Boomers camp and I just fell in love with his coaching style," Reath said.
"He's a players coach and I really like that. I really got to know him more as a person and, when you're comfortable around a coach, it's going to really help you as a player.
"They're going to be able to push you, you can ask questions, if you need help they can help you. That's important because I've definitely got a lot to learn and I've definitely got to get better at a lot of things.
"I think the ceiling is really high for me and it is exciting to come to practice, work on my game and learn something new every day. I can do that here and that's really exciting.
"I feel this is the place that's going to help me be the best player that I can be."
He feels the same about the rapidly growing NBL, a league that would not have lured a player of his pedigree and resume back to Australia even five years ago.
"I just feel the timing is right, especially with coach Goorj being here," he said.
"I'm impressed with the way the league's going. It's going at a really high level, there's some really good players here and I feel like it's the right place for me to be in my career right now.
"It's going to be really competitive, it's going to be a really challenging season and I'm ready for that challenge of competing and playing to the best of our ability as a team.
"I think it's going to be a fun exciting year for us."