Canberra basketballer Patrick Mills was presented an award at his former school, Marist College.
HE'S STARRED in his home town, lifted his sport's profile among the congestion of the winter football codes and received the highest honour bestowed upon students at his old school.
The next goal for Patty Mills is winning the back-up point guard role at the San Antonio Spurs and proving he can match it with the best players in the NBA.
The Canberra sensation is enjoying some much-deserved down time after driving the Australian Boomers to a 2-0 series sweep of New Zealand in their recent Oceania world championship qualifying campaign.
Mills averaged 20.5 points a game and produced several crucial steals on the defensive end as he revelled in his leadership role with the national team after warming the bench for the Spurs.
The 25-year-old will return to the US in September for a training camp with the Spurs, with the intention of shaking off his ''towel-waver'' tag and becoming a more regular contributor to the reigning Western Conference champions.
Mills will be in competition with Cory Joseph and Nando de Colo for the back-up point guard role after Gary Neal's move to the Milwaukee Bucks in the off-season.
''The position hasn't been set who's going to take it. We all have goals and I have a goal as well,'' Mills said. ''All I can do is put myself in the best possible position to earn the right when it comes around to game time. Hopefully I've done all the work to put myself in the best position. The plan is to get some good work while I'm here in Australia and make sure I'm in the best shape possible when training camp starts at the end of September.''
Mills is off-contract at the end of this season and knows first-hand the brutal realities of the professional game. ''It's crucial for me just to get out and play a part and contribute for them,'' he said. ''I fully believe I can play and contribute to the Spurs, it's somewhere I feel like I can play a lot, but it's out of my hands, it's all up to coach Pop (Gregg Popovich).
''If it doesn't go to plan and I'm a free agent by the end of the season, I'll look elsewhere.''
The passionate Adelaide Crows fan was a guest on the AFL Footy Show in Melbourne on Thursday night and will also spend time in the Torres Strait Islands to visit some of his family.
He was a guest of honour at Marist College earlier this week, where he was surprised to receive the school's full colour award, the highest honour awarded to past students.
''That was unreal. It was a special day and one I'll remember for a very long time,'' Mills said.
Mills is heading into his fifth season in the NBA after being selected by the Portland Trail Blazers as the 55th pick of the 2009 draft.
An ill-fated stint in China forced by the NBA lockout and a short-term move to the Melbourne Tigers was followed with a move to the Spurs last year.