WHEN Alice Kunek first trained with the Bulleen Boomers she had never shot a three-pointer in a game and never played anywhere except the low post.
But Boomers coach Tom Maher and fellow coaches Gary Fox and Michele Timms saw potential and a great work ethic in the 187-centimetre teenager so they took a punt on her.
Three years later, the now 22-year-old is the Boomers' starting small forward and the third-ranked three-point shooter in the WNBL.
Maher said it did not take much convincing to get Kunek working on her agility, quickness, shooting and ball-handling as she took to doing two or more individual training sessions with her coaches each week.
For many players this would be too much but the Boomers coaches put it simply to Kunek, that if she ever wanted to play for Australia she had to change.
''It was something I had to do for my career, internationally I would play as a three-man [small forward],'' Kunek said.
''I couldn't play the three-spot at all but the coaches have improved me and now when I'm in that spot I'm really comfy.
''I've done a lot of indies [individual sessions], especially with Gary to improve my shooting. It's been quite a big transition to go from the post to the perimeter.''
Maher compares it to an AFL ruckman having to change into a midfielder, all while still playing at the top level. But Maher has seen not only skill improvements from Kunek but mental ones as well and he hopes she will continue to evolve in the coming years.
''She said she had never shot a three-pointer in her life - now she is one of best three-point shooters in the league,'' Maher said.
''This year she has taken a big step forward in her ability to conceptualise the game because you see it differently from the post and for someone so young to come along so much is fantastic.''
After playing a limited role in the Boomers' 2010-11 championship team, Kunek was given a more prominent role last season and responded by doubling her scoring average from five points a game to 10.
This season, Kunek had to take on an even greater role across the court and those demands have proved a challenge for her.
After several unflattering performances in the lead-up to Christmas, Kunek scored a career-high 30 points against Logan Thunder on December 22, including making 11 of her 16 shots. But she wasn't happy her side lost.
''It was great for me personally, if we got to win it would have been something to celebrate,'' she said. ''I was in a low patch of form at that time so to get that 30-point game, it was motivation to keep working hard in games.''
The Boomers will miss the play-offs this season, cutting short their streak of playing in four-straight WNBL grand finals. The Boomers play their second-last home game of the season against Canberra Capitals at the Veneto Club on Sunday.