The way it has worked in the past for the Dominican boys basketball team is that stars come in young, establish themselves through some growing pains and then come to dominate.
For example, there's Maryland star and soon-to-be NBA draft choice Diamond Stone, who was on the first four of the Green Knights' record five consecutive WIAA D4 state championships.
Sophomore guard Gacoby Jones, Jr. can be seen filling that slot in the future after a recent breakout effort in Dominican's most recent run to the title last month at the Kohl Center in Madison.
But rarely does it go the route that 6-11 senior forward Kostas Antetokounmpo took to his current stardom.
The 2016 Now All-Suburban team choice and WBCA D4 first-team all-state selection, he was the top sub off the bench for the 2015 Green Knights team that dominated two unbeaten squads in the WIAA state tournament but played less than a combined total of 30 minutes in those two games, scoring only eight points altogether.
He was thin and raw, but as is said with many his height, he had 'upside.' He was even rated sixth among state prospects in the Wisconsin prep senior class by the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook despite his relatively thin credentials.
The patience paid off. The younger brother of emerging Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis, Antetokounmpo took his game to a much higher level this season with a steep learning curve.
He became the 27-1 green Knights' leading scorer at 13 ppg. on 63 percent shooting, though his offensive game is still very much a work in progress. He even hit seven 3-pointers as his jumper started to become more reliable. It was of course on the defensive end where he dominated things, as he averaged 7.1 rebounds per game to go along with 51 blocks.
In the postgame press conference following the state title victory over previously unbeaten Cameron, Antetokounmpo said he was told by coach Derek Berger at various points during the season to 'just keep being aggressive.'
It worked. He moved into the starting lineup (along with the only other returning starter, junior guard Jake Bennett). Newcomers like Jones, senior forward Michael Ferrici and junior guard Ralen Brown also stepped into those roles, and soon Dominican was rolling like it had been in the the past.
The only loss on the season would be to area power Brown Deer in the third game of the season. Following that, they would not be touched again with only three games with single-digit margins of victory.
Comparing his statistics to the state tournament of a year ago, Antetokounmpo was like night and day. In comparison to his spare work in the 2015 finals, he was absolutely essential this year, as he combined for a total of 22 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocked shots in the two state contests, getting great help underneath from 6-8 junior reserve Will Jelacic.
He played over 63 combined minutes in the semifinals and finals, occasionally hitting the deft jumper along with the highly anticipated big 'splash' play of a thunderous dunk or a big swat of an opposing shot out of bounds.
He said what helped him a great deal this year was the support of Giannis, who got to every Dominican game his schedule would permit. And Antetokounmpo was known to return the favor, cheering on his big brother in what has been a disappointing campaign for the Bucks.
Antetokounmpo was happy to bring the record-setting fifth straight WIAA state crown to Whitefish Bay, and he is busy improving his game wondering what kind of decision he should he make for college.
Reports have him linked to Iowa State, where former Milwaukee Vincent and Marquette University player Deonte Burton has made a splash, along with Memphis, St. John's, Florida and others. He's still thin, still raw, but his upside is starting to show through.
His loss, along with that of Ferrici, will be big for the Knights, but no one is feeling sorry for them, as they will build around Jones, Bennett (who had a big 3-point festival in the finals against Cameron), Brown and Jelacic.
The process of building another champion will begin soon.
'Every team is different,' Berger said, 'even when you return most of the players.'