The recent loss at nationals still hurts, says Wellington under-19 basketballer Micah Brown, but the opportunity to further his career in the United States would certainly dull the pain.
The point guard from Titahi Bay has been in regional sides since he was 13 and knows many of his team-mates well. They have been a force at national competitions in the past few years, winning twice.
The abrupt exit from the nationals in Dunedin earlier this month - a 104-88 quarter-final hammering at the hands of Canterbury - has been difficult to stomach.
"We were pretty gutted."
The year 13 Tawa College student is hopeful of one last hurrah with the Wellington boys before his high school basketball career comes to a close. A basketball trip to the Gold Coast is a possibility.
Next year, Brown's options remain open. His parents may spend time in the US - where his two brothers live - so the likelihood of going to a US university and playing college hoops is high.
Living in Titahi Bay and travelling into Kilbirnie for 6.30am trainings has been a challenge, but Brown's dedication has led to consistent selection in rep teams during his teens. He is also giving back some of his time to younger players - a qualified official for two years now, he referees Tawa College junior games.
This year has not been easy, balancing basketball and studies - training or playing four nights a week, but Brown says many of his fellow year 13s are in the same boat.
"It is a challenge because you have more study periods and freedom. But you just have to keep focused on your goals."
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- Kapi-Mana News