Adam Carlson toiled for three years in the lower levels of the Newbury Park High boys' basketball program.
In the summer before his senior year, Carlson put forth an all-out effort to secure a role on the Panthers' varsity as something more than a bench player.
Carlson fulfilled that goal and led the Panthers, who finished 13-13, in scoring and rebounding.
He will conclude his high school basketball career tonight when he plays for the South in the Ventura County Coaches Assn. All-Star game at Ventura High at 8 p.m.
The girls' game begins at 6.
For Carlson, the game is reward for his efforts.
"[Last summer], I was playing five or six nights a week," said Carlson, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound small forward who averaged 15.8 points and 8.7 rebounds. "It was like my job. I didn't want to be a role player my senior year.
"Some people didn't know who I was. I wanted to open some eyes."
It wasn't easy.
After spending his junior year on the junior varsity, he committed himself to rigorous workouts in an effort to refine his shooting touch and hone his defensive skills.
"He did whatever it took in the summer to make a contribution in the winter," Coach Steve Johnson of Newbury Park said.
Carlson became his team's best offensive and defensive player, shooting 27.6% from three-point range.
"He's a self-made player," Johnson said. "He made himself into a guy who became a good shooter, but also was willing to fight for rebounds and take a charge on defense."
Carlson has drawn interest from Cal Lutheran, but he's not sure if he wants to play basketball in college.
"I'd like to continue, but I've played for so long that I've accepted it if I don't play any more," he said. "I don't feel like I'm leaving the game not knowing what I could have done."