RISING Ipswich Grammar School basketballer Marty Leahy has enjoyed a near perfect preparation for the start of this year's GPS competition tomorrow.
He's been playing in open ranks, gaining valuable international experience at the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea.
The year 12 student was vice-captain of the PNG team which finished fourth at the tournament.
Leahy, 18, played in all nine games, including PNG's playoff for bronze in his country of origin.
"It's the best PNG has ever played at the Pacific Games,'' Leahy said.
"We came first in our pool but then coming into crossovers and semi-finals, all the other teams picked up.''
Leahy said beating Fiji by two points was the most satisfying win. "That was the first time PNG had ever beaten Fiji and there was a bit of a rivalry there,'' he said.
The skilful basketballer enjoyed matching up with professional players from around the world as he represented PNG for the first time.
"There was even an NBL New Zealand Breakers player there,'' he said. "Just playing against them was a whole another level. I learnt a lot.
"I played centre for my team, which I'm not used to, and I was up against a lot of 6'9, 6'7, even one seven foot player.''
Leahy is six foot, five (195cm).
Ipswich Grammar opens its 2015 GPS campaign against Brisbane Boys College tomorrow, having finished second last year.
"We've definitely lost a lot of our strength in the senior players but we still have a strong starting five and a good couple of roles players,'' the team captain said.
His own preparation was enhanced by being against physical players in PNG.
"It's a lot stronger. They play a lot harder,'' Leahy said. "And when you are going for medals, it's a whole new level.''
He's in his fifth year at IGS.
When he was younger, Leahy lived in Port Moresby for a short while.
Having arrived back in Ipswich on Tuesday night, Leahy is also hoping to gain more court time with Ipswich Force in the state league.
He missed Force's recent games, including the road trip north, while overseas.
Leahy is keen to play on Sunday against South West Metro after tomorrow's GPS opener.
"A lot of the junior stuff is kind of going down for me so I'm moving into the men's stuff,'' he said.
After his PNG experience, Leahy is ready.