The Canberra Capitals have signed young gun Maddi Rocci for 2018 WNBL season as Paul Goriss' squad begins to take shape.
Rocci said it has been a lifetime's work to earn her first WNBL contract and attributes a move from hometown Werribee to the AIS last year for kick-starting her career.
The 19-year-old point guard is widely considered an Opal-in-waiting and came across Gorris' radar at the AIS.
"I've been working so hard to secure a WNBL contract and I couldn't be happier to sign," Rocci said.
"I came to Canberra to chase my goal of playing for Australia and I'm excited to be able to continue my progression and development in the WNBL. I can't wait to get started."
Rocci has averaged 14 points and five rebounds a game for the COE in the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) this season.
The teenager's stellar form was recognised through selection in the Australian Gems squad for the under-19 World Cup in Italy next month.
"I can't wait to get over there and I think it will be the perfect preparation for the WNBL with that physicality playing against some bigger bodies," Rocci said.
The point guard will serve her apprenticeship at the Capitals under one of the best in the business, with WNBL veteran Nat Hurst signing on last month.
"I haven't met her yet so I'm little bit nervous but I'm looking forward to playing alongside here and playing against the best in Australia," Rocci said.
"It will be a great opportunity for me getting to train against older athletes which will help me improve my all-round game."
University of Canberra Union chief executive Joe Roff hailed the signing, saying Rocci was ready to take the next step in her career.
"Maddi is an up-and-coming point guard and has really developed and improved her game at the COE over the last two years," Roff said.
"Bringing her in gives us depth at the point guard position. She is a strong on-ball defender and she can also shoot the ball well and is dangerous from the perimeter."
"Training and playing with players like Nat Hurst will be a great apprenticeship for Maddi. She'll be learning from one of the best point guards in the game."
Rocci represented her state at the national level in various age groups and in 2015 captained the under-18 Victoria metro team that won a gold medal at the National Junior Championships.