News of Mac Stodart making a national basketball team broke when he was in class at James Hargest College.
His mother, Maria Alcock, a teacher at the college, saw the email first and made a swift visit to Mac's classroom.
"She put her head in the door and gave me the thumbs up," he said.
"I was very excited and a bit shocked."
Stodart is the only Southlander in the New Zealand under 16 men's basketball team and follows fellow James Hargest student Tom Cowie who played in the side last year.
Cowie is now in the Southland Sharks team.
Stodart, aged 15 and 2m tall, attended a two day South Island training camp at Ashburton in October. He was then one of 80 selected for a national camp in Auckland in December.
Four more monthly camps were held in Auckland and as each one finished, participant numbers reduced.
Basketball New Zealand announced the team in April.
Stodart now makes two trips a month to Auckland for training, as part of the team's build up to the Australian Junior Championships in Perth on July 8-15. Each state of Australia is represented at the prestigious tournament.
It will be held in Perth's newest arena, the Warwick Stadium.
Stodart is receiving high performance training in Auckland.
"It's a lot faster and they talk a lot more on defense," said Stodart, who also trains with the Southland Sharks.
Wellington Saints coach Kevin Braswell noticed Stodart's talent several years ago and coached him for 18 months. At the time, Braswell was the Southland Basketball Association's development officer and a game-breaker for the Sharks.
Stodart has played basketball since 2010 and represented Southland at age group level for the past four years.
His eagerness to learn and get better, impresses the current development officer Dan Peck.
"He's gifted in terms of size and athleticism," Peck said.
"The sky's the limit if he continues to learn and develop."
In March, Stodart was second (discus) and third (javelin) at the South Island secondary schools' athletics in Dunedin. Also that month, he won a discus section at the Otago-Southland secondary schools' athletics.
He has had considerable support from his parents, Richard Stodart and Maria Alcock, of Myross Bush.
"We're very proud of him," Alcock said.
"He's been so lucky with the coaches he's had . . . and he's put a lot into it himself."
Meanwhile, Southland Sharks player Josh Aitcheson has been named in the New Zealand team to compete at the under 19 World Cup in Cairo in early July.
Article and image courtesy of The Southland Times/Stuff.co.nz