HORSHAM basketballer Mitch Creek has capped a whirlwind year with a scholarship to the exclusive Australian Institute of Sport men's basketball program in Canberra.
Creek, 17, is the second Wimmera basketballer to go to the AIS after Aaron Bruce.
He will leave the Wimmera to start school in Canberra on July 16.
"It is an opportunity of a lifetime," Creek said. "It has come up quickly but it is not something you can turn down.
"It is something that will weigh heavily on my shoulders. Not many players have had the chance to play at this level.
"I will need to work hard in the weight room. They want me to play as a guard so I will need to work a lot on my shooting and my defence."
Creek has taken his game to a new level this season, playing a leading role in Victoria Country's campaign at the Under-18 National Championships, training with the Australian under-19 squad and winning a place at the prestigious Nike All-Asia Camp in Beijing, China.
He will now work with Australia's best junior basketballers in the intensive program.
AIS players have gone on to careers in the United States, Europe and in Australia.
Many AIS players, including Bruce, use their time at the institute as a springboard to a US college basketball scholarship and Creek said that could be a path for him in the future.
Creek said he was sad to leave Horsham but already had friends at the institute.
"My parents will be a bit sad to see me go but they know it is a great opportunity for me, it's a chance to make something of my basketball career," he said.
Creek is recovering from a fractured wrist which he picked up while playing in Beijing.
He expects to be off court for the next three weeks.
But Creek said he would consider removing the plaster to play a final game for the Big V basketball league's Horsham Hornets before he leaves for Canberra.
"I have only been able to play a couple of games this season, it will be sad to leave the guys at this point of the season," he said.