Imagine jumping from junior basketball into the big time.
The Big V starts this weekend and 17-year-old Juina Lual will make her senior debut for the Warrnambool Mermaids.
The Mermaids have moved up to the championship division this season so Lual will be up against the best of the best.
The young guard, who stands at about 170cm tall, said it was an honour to be part of the senior team.
"They're a great bunch of girls and I just can't wait to have a fun time with them," she said.
"It'll be a good learning experience."
She said she was excited to play in the Big V's top competition.
Lual has honed her skills in the Mermaids' junior representative sides and played in the Country Basketball League during summer.
The Emmanuel College Year 12 student said she had enjoyed learning from the Mermaids' experienced players who had provided great support.
"The older girls - Amy Wormald, Jae Leddin and Abbey Sutherland - are great leaders in the team," she said.
"They're always helping us younger girls out."
Lual is of South Sundanese heritage and was born in Melbourne.
She grew up in Warrnambool and is the oldest of four siblings, two brothers and one sister, who all play basketball.
She said her parents didn't play basketball but enjoyed watching their children play.
"They've learnt to love it through us playing it," she said.
The Mermaids' recruit started playing basketball when she was about eight years old and participated in the Aussie Hoops program which provides an introduction to the game.
Lual has the challenge of playing basketball while completing her Year 12 studies this year.
She said she completed most of her homework during the week.
"I stay after school as much as I can so I have free weekends for basketball," she said.
Lual said she enjoyed studying health and human development and legal studies.
On Saturday night the Mermaids have a grand final replay against Casey, which also got promoted to the championship division.
The game starts at 8pm at Casey Stadium.
Coach Louise Brown said she was looking forward to the opening clash but acknowledged the teams would look different to last season's grand final series.
The Mermaids will be without a host of experienced players this season including former WNBL basketballer Katie O'Keefe, Alana Strom, Holly Greene, Molly McKinnon and point guard Carly Pulling.
But, alongside Lual, have promoted Kat Aitken and welcomed back Jae Leddin and Chelsea McMahon.
Fans can look forward to seeing both the Mermaids and Seahawks in action with eight double-headers to be played at The Arc in Warrnambool this season.
Both teams have their first home game on March 23.
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