SANFORD, FLA -- Before the sun comes up on a hot summer day in Seminole County, John Mooney has already finished the hardest part of his day.
Every morning is the same for the former Lake Brantley and Notre Dame basketball star. The early hours are consumed by drills, conditioning, weightlifting and hundreds of shots.
"They're going to get a winner," Mooney says between free throw attempts, "a guy who is going to come in and do whatever is asked."
They would be all 30 NBA teams. The Central Florida native is in preparation for November's NBA Draft; a dream he's had since his childhood.
“As a kid I used to watch draft nights. I had a sheet and go through the list of all the guys and where they went to college and all that. I’ve been following the draft since I was like five years old.”
When the night he's dreamed of finally arrives, Mooney knows 60 names will be called.
After hours of waiting, he never heard his.
"Again I don’t want to say it was a disappointment because I like to look at it as motivation. Fuel to the fire and continue to get better," Mooney said. “My mindset was if I get drafted, great. If not I need to have a plan B.”
He got over the draft by going down under.
Two weeks prior, he joined the Perth Wildcats out of the NBL in Australia.
“It’s been great so far. I live pretty close to the beach. It’s a big city so it’s obviously the best of both worlds. A lot of people will pay a lot of money to travel but I’m getting paid to do this so it’s a blessing man it really is. I’m super fortunate.”
The big man is using his time in Australia to perfect his craft.
“My biggest areas of growth are consistently shooting the ball from three better. Defensively just moving a little bit quicker. Be able to guard a wing or a guard for three or four dribbles and I think I’ve done that this offseason.”
Hopefully for Mooney, it will result in the fulfillment of that childhood dream, a year later than expected.
That’s always the goal. I’m confident in my abilities I can do that. All it is is getting the opportunity to do that over there as well.”