Canberra is definitely home for Akech Aliir, but if he was to begin his NBL journey anywhere, there couldn't be a better destination than Adelaide.
The former Gunners forward was signed on a development contract with the 36ers this year, and in South Australia he's been reunited with his half-brother Aliir Aliir, who plays for Port Adelaide Power.
"Our family is a bit everywhere, but it's been great watching him in the AFL, he's really inspirational, and the family is really proud and happy for us," Akech Aliir told The Canberra Times.
"I'm currently living with him which is really nice."
Aliir earned his spot in the 36ers squad after standout performances in the NBL1, first with the Gunners where he won the 2022 East title and then in the Central division with the North Adelaide Rockets.
The off-season move to the Rockets put him squarely on the 36ers' radar, and now he's rubbing shoulders with full-time professionals, with a goal to soon make his NBL debut.
"Hopefully that'll happen next year," he said.
"I was presented the opportunity here in Adelaide, and I took it.
"It's still just basketball, but it's the little things with being a professional, and it's a bit faster and stronger.
"I'm learning the difference between this level and NBL1, but coaches and players are helping me, and I'm learning from everyone. It's been a great experience."
The 22-year-old that arrived in Canberra from Newcastle as a kid, believes he wouldn't be in the position he's in without the NBL1 East and the Gunners.
"There's a lot of opportunities across NBL1," Aliir said.
"When we won at the Gunners, it really put us on a national stage, and that was the first year of NBL1 East competition."
At 204 centimetres tall, Aliir's length with elite athleticism has seen his game rapidly develop since he realised basketball was worth pursuing in his late teens.
He's strong at both ends of the court, with averages of 15.3 points and 11.3 rebounds playing for the Rockets, building on his Gunners averages of 11 points and 7 rebounds a game in 2022.
If Aliir can continue to grow as a player, then it won't be much longer till he finally gets his call-up from the bench.
"I play like me, I don't play like anyone else," Aliir said.
"There's guys here that have played a lot more years than I have, and as many as I'm hoping to play. So it's just been good to get bits and pieces from everyone.
"It's a bit frustrating watching from the bench, but for now I can just support the boys, and hope we get more wins and get on a roll."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.