Last spring, the Toronto Raptors left mouths across their home-town agape when they selected a little-known Lithuanian, Jonas Valanciunas, with their fifth pick in the NBA draft.
Fans cried foul as the club imported yet another European that they had little-to-no familiarity with, and even now, more than a year later, most fans are still only peripherally aware of Valanciunas as an actual basketball player.
That means that for many fans, this weekend will represent the first opportunity many have had to watch Valanciunas in action as he suits up with the Lithuanian senior mens national team for his first tour of duty at the Olympic games.
No longer will fans have to satisfy their curiosity with YouTube clips or fawning praise from Raptors executives, they'll get to watch Valanciunas for themselves and, finally, begin to form their own opinions of the mysterious foreign centre.
Fans shouldn't let their expectations get too out of control though. While Valanciunas is loaded with potential, he is still just a 20-year-old kid playing in tournament full of grown men. He is by far the youngest member of his squad, and it is a testament to his skill and effort that he is being given any minutes at all at this level.
Country-mate and fellow 2011 draftee, Donatas Montiejunas, turned down the chance to play for his country over fears that he'd see no floor time in London - and he's nearly two years older than Valanciunas is and has a more refined offensive game.
So what should fans expect from Valanciunas this summer? Well, they should expect a big man with a relentless motor who chases down blocks and rebounds, defends with alacrity and finishes well in the pick-and-roll.
He won't back down from anyone in the post, and FIBA play is notoriously physical around the basket, and he knows how to play smart off-the-ball defense and makes the right rotations to help his teammates in team defense situations.
What fans shouldn't expect, though, is a ton of polish in his game. If you want an imperfect comparison, try and remember what Joakim Noah was like in his first year in the NBA. He was the very definition of all-out effort, but he had a lot to learn about the subtleties of high-level basketball.
The club won't be throwing the ball to Valanciunas down low to make plays, they expect that he'll have his fair share of fouls considering he'll be defending guys like Marc Gasol , Luis Scola and Nene and they know that playing him means that they'll have to accept a certain amount of ‘young player mistakes' as he adapts to the level of competition.
That said, Valanciunas is an integral member of this club. Starting centre Robertas Javtokas had to leave the team this month after suffering a stress fracture in his foot, leaving the door open for a huge role for Valanciunas, who had been coming off of the bench ever since joining themens senior team last summer.
Valanciunas started in Javtokas's place in a friendly against Russia five days ago, and while the club would no doubt love to have someone with more experience in his place the already small Lithuanian squad will probably be forced to throw Valanciunas out to the wolves beginning with their first game on Sunday against basketball powerhouse Argentina.
Regardless of how he performs, Valanciunas is getting a much stronger basketball education his summer than fellow rookies Terrence Ross and Quincy Acy got earlier this month at the Las Vegas Summer League.
He'll begoing up against real NBA-caliber competition nearly every game, and he'll be doing it in games that actually mean something in terms of wins and losses. Experiences like this can only hasten his development into whatever player Valanciunas is destined to be, and for many Raptors fans this will be a great first taste of what the Raptors invested in last June.
He's far from a finished product but getting to see him in actual game action (and alongside fellow Raptor, Linas Kleiza) will be a great tease before he dons a Raptors jersey of his own in Toronto this fall.