Limited opportunities have led to a frustrating season for Jeremiah Trueman, but the Perth Wildcats forward remains hell-bent on proving his worth to New Zealand selectors ahead of the Tall Blacks' Olympic Games qualifiers in July.
Confined to the stands for much of the Wildcats' championship assault, Trueman has managed just six games off the bench.
He averages fewer than six minutes on court for 0.8 points and 0.8 rebounds a game, down from nine minutes, 2.6 points and 1.5 rebounds a game in 30 appearances last season.
Trueman's six games have mostly come after injuries to teammates and the 24-year-old admitted he had questioned whether he should continue with a professional basketball career.
"When you're sitting out, you sit back and try to figure out whether this is what you should be doing and if it's really worth the time that you're putting in," Trueman said.
"There's not much reward right now, but I got a good chance against New Zealand (Breakers) and I was pretty fired up for that one. I played quite well and it was the same against Gold Coast.
"If anything, I've got a bit of a chip on my shoulder and I'm probably a bit more motivated to play.
"I'm definitely more focused and just going out there to try to make the most of my opportunities.
"(The Olympics) is something that's kept me motivated because when you're not playing you've got to have goals."
Trueman, who is out of contract at the end of the season, has shown positive signs in brief appearances off the bench in recent weeks.
Trueman hopes the Wildcats' intense training regime will stand him in good stead when he returns to play with Manawatu Jets - under the nose of national selectors in New Zealand - at the end of the NBL season.
But he still has a role to play for the Wildcats and will have to step up in tonight's game away to Sydney, with centre Matt Knight still sidelined by a calf muscle strain.
Trueman will get the chance to prove himself against Kings superstar Julian Khazzouh and import Jerai Grant, and believes he has spotted a weakness he can exploit.
"I don't think their fitness is up to standard, so we're going to pick up the intensity against them, be physical and hopefully it pays off," Trueman said.
"We can run all day and you can see on the game film that we watch that they are cruising a little bit."
The Wildcats must beat Sydney to regain top spot after New Zealand thumped Melbourne 91-77 in Auckland yesterday.
Point-guard Cedric Jackson again ran the show, and he also weighed in with 12 assists and 10 points.He was one of six Breakers to get into double figures scoring, a list headed by Gary Wilkinson with a game-high 21 points.
Is Auckland a ‘supercity of sin’?Vote
Copyright © 2013 Yahoo! New Zealand
All rights reserved.
Select your region to see news and weather for your area.