Australian basketballers Lauren Jackson and Patrick Mills will play in Canberra on Sunday. Photo: Rohan Thomson
He has been schooled by some NBA greats, now Canberra point guard Patty Mills wants to ensure the Australian Boomers are the major beneficiaries of those lessons.
A bench player at San Antonio for the past two years, Mills' basketball education has been accelerated by Spurs ''big three'' Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli.
Their mentorship is helping him adjust from NBA role player to the Boomers ''go-to'' man for game two of the Oceania championship against New Zealand in Canberra on Sunday.
''I've created a level of friendship with those guys that's pretty close, and they've shared some stuff I wouldn't be able to get anywhere else,'' Mills said.
''Two years with the Spurs and playing the NBA finals, what I'm looking to do now is play games where I can put in place what I've learned. These two games for the Boomers is the first place to do that.''
Australia overcame a scare against New Zealand in its 70-59 game-one win at Auckland on Wednesday, rallying from seven points down at half-time.
Mills has transformed from student to teacher at the Boomers.
The 25-year-old has taken exciting teenagers Ben Simmons and Dante Exum under his wing, and both showed promising signs in game one.
''I still look to guys like Tony and Manu and how they lead, I'm always taking mental notes on how they do that,'' he said.
''This is just another chance for me to take what I've learned from the NBA and put it into work here.
''Dante and Benny are bringing a whole new level of energy, we saw that in the first game.
''I can teach those guys what I've learned and the experiences I've been through, hopefully they get a bit out of it.''
Guard Exum is tipped to be a top-10 pick in next year's NBA draft should he decide to bypass the US college system.