WE'LL never know what might have been, but cobbling together arguably one of the most talented line-ups the Ballarat Miners have put on court in recent years, only to have the season cut short, will see 2021 go down as the lost season.
This was a team which had an unlimited star power potential.
It had Sam Short, who was part of the Melbourne NBL winning squad and later Illawarra jet Emmett Naar.
It had Matt Kenyon and Jock Perry who both would be awarded contracts with the NBL's new franchise in Tasmania.
It had giant Deng Acouth, the flashy and at times brilliant William Hickey and a host of youngsters led by a break-out season from Zac Dunmore.
All the building blocks were there for a big season, and even after a slow start, punctuated by a host of away games early in the season, it looked like the team had found its rhythm and was going to have a huge say in the play-offs.
And then it stopped and we'll never know just how good this team could have been.
Without a designated import, the Miners somehow managed to piece together a classy and at times exciting team.
There were moments during the season when as a supporter you would pull your hair out and there were other moments of pure exhilaration.
The season can pretty well be summed up by the first home game of the season. In the first half of that the team was non-existent, showing the occasion polish, but still going in at half time 20 points down.
Then whatever coach Brendan Joyce said to them at the halfway mark snapped them into action. Flying home to level things up at the end of the game showed just how talented the team could be.
But just like the season, it was a false dawn, Bendigo would win that night in overtime, which kind of summed up the season perfectly.
Who knows what we'll see from the Miners next season? The talk is a lot of the players would be keen to return if the opportunity presents itself, but as we know in these crazy times, no-one what opportunities will arise.
So you look to your young core. Zac Dunmore has shown he is ready to handle whatever is thrown at him.
We'd love to see more of Broden Collins and Jordan Lingard. You would hope for the return of Sam Short and fingers crossed Ballarat fans get to see the rare talent that is Emmett Naar. Deng Acouth will hopefully be back too from Africa and perhaps an import or two might just make the difference.
And then of course there's Brendan Joyce, the coaching mastermind who will ply his trade for the next six month in Taiwan. His loss will be felt in the off-season as the club goes about searching for a new director of coaching.
At a glance
Ballarat Miners 2021: 8-6 (ninth of 18 teams)
Best performances: Will Hickey 27 (v Bendigo), Matt Kenyon 27 (v NW Tasmania), Jock Perry 25 (v Ringwood)