Lauren Scherf's talent was always there, blindingly obvious to anyone with the slightest inkling of what makes a good basketballer.
After all, you don't win WNBL rookie of the year after debuting as a 17-year-old if you don't have some potential.
Five years on the Canberra Capitals centre is playing a key role in her side's impressive start to the season leading into a clash with the Sydney Flames at the National Convention Centre on Sunday.
But Capitals coach Paul Goriss says we are only beginning to touch the surface when it comes to unlocking Scherf's full potential after delivering an off-season directive to "work a lot harder".
Scherf did just that when she linked up with Diamond Valley during the SEABL season, and the 22-year-old says a return home to family reignited her desire to one day be mentioned as an Opal and a championship-winner in the same breath.
"Being at home and having family and friends around me really helped me boost my confidence to be able to play," Scherf said.
"Especially being with Diamond Valley in the off-season and the coaches there. They really helped me come out of my shell and give me a lot more confidence than I had before.
"It was good to have Maddy [Rocci] and a few other girls [at Diamond Valley] in Abbey [Wehrung], Chev [Palvaast] and Ezi [Magbegor], it really worked out well having those girls previously playing with Canberra. Us playing together and being really good mates really showed on the court.
"The different group of girls we’ve got [at the Capitals this season], it’s a different calibre of team. For me personally in the off-season I really worked hard.
"Me being at home with family and friends, and all the support I had from them, has really lifted my spirits. I was able to come in here and be ready for what is to come.
"With the help of the girls in the team, with Gorrie, it’s really helped my game come along."
Scherf says the Capitals have been revitalised following their first defeat of the season last week as they prepare for the winless Flames to come out "all guns blazing".
"We know they’re going to be physical and they’re going to be tough," Scherf said.
"They’re still waiting for their first win so they’re going to come out all guns blazing. We just need to be ready and need to be prepared for what they’ve got coming for us.
"We don’t know what they’re going to bring, because it could be completely different from what they brought last time. We’ve just got to go in and be ready, and have trust in what we’ve got."
WNBL ROUND 4
Sunday: Canberra Capitals v Sydney Flames at National Convention Centre, 2pm. Tickets available at the door.
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