The hard work is about to begin for 37 talented basketball players that have been named in the IMS Payroll Paul Henare and Paora Winitana Basketball Academy.
The mix of girl and boy players aged between 12-18 years have been split into squads to train at Flaxmere, Hastings and Napier.
Paora Winitana says the players in Hawke's Bay have plenty of raw ability, which now needs to refined, so they can fully understand the tactics and plays of basketball.
"We're not short of talent but you don't reach the top on talent alone. It's about developing a strong work ethic, improving their skills, helping them to understand the game and becoming mentally strong," he said.
"They will all have to train hard, train smart and train together over the 26 weeks, it is a big commitment not just from them but also from their families, this was a crucial part to their final selection into our academy."
Winitana was also thrilled to announce more sponsors to join IMS Payroll.
The Jarrod Cunningham Youth Sport Trust has come on board as has Unison, Service Trust, Konica Minolta. HBS Bank, Prolife Food Ltd, Raiseys Original, Hastings District Council, Y-Life Insurance, and Basketball Hawke's Bay.
Jarrod Cunningham Youth Sport trustee Tony Maidens said the academy's principles aligned perfectly with the trust.
"The players have to make a real commitment in the academy, both on and off the court.
"They will learn so much from Paora and Paul and we hope that they all take this opportunity with both hands."
The players will begin training from next week, starting at 6am.
The Hastings and Flaxmere squads will train two times a week and the Napier squad once a week.
"They have some early starts to get used to, it's not going to be easy but this special group is determined and focussed and it will be great to see their progress over the year," Henare said.
Hastings: Amariah Luki, Andrew Wilson, Dartanyan Naera, Hami Kennedy, Jaxson Macfarlane, Jonathan Riley, Kaleb Edwards, Marcos Edwards, Maia Wati-Cooper, Matiu Spooner, Shayden King- Edwards, Tamia Edwards, Tiemi Amner.
Flaxmere: Aaliyah Ah-Kiong, Anecia Wilkie, Ashley Welsh, Dominic McGovan, Isaia Jones, Kaleel Spooner, Kalhain Collier, Matt Bird, Sean Leech, Tietie Aiolupotea, Tuehu Spooner, Yvonne Henare.
Napier: Demi Forshaw, Jacob Nahora, Josie Stockill, Kathleen Nahora, Kimiora Poi, Kresna Crouch, Maddie King, Mahia Isherwood, Nick Agnew, Ricky Hayes, Wilfred Dickson, Zane Hohepa.