THE 2019/20 hoops season was one Nowra's Kyle Leslie had been dreaming off since he started dribbling a basketball.
It marked his first playing basketball in the United States with Davis and Elkins College.
"My freshman season with the Senators I feel was really positive - I was able to step into a big role with a lot of minutes, which is something I wasn't expecting straight away," Leslie said.
"Most athletes at the division two level only get two to three minutes a game as a freshman but I was lucky enough to have the chance at a lot of minutes, including starting five of the regular season games.
"During the first half of the season, I was producing a consistently strong play, being the team's fourth-leading scorer.
"Those numbers, unfortunately, went down in the second half of the season because I missed a few games due to health reasons and I've been fighting to get back to where I was ever since.
"Overall, despite a few hiccups in the second half of the season, I feel my freshman campaign was a success and with our new coach, training and objectives, I know my sophomore season is going to be even more impressive."
Although he was successful right from the tip, the Nowra Anglican College alumnus had plenty of adjustments to make to the US style of play.
"The biggest adjustment I had to deal with was the number of charges called in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) league," he said.
"My role for this year was a power forward/centre position and it can be very easy to get called for a charge if you're a little too aggressive in the post.
"However, in Australia, you're allowed to be a lot more physical and aggressive in the post.
"The other thing is speed - most power forwards aren't 'real' power forwards in the league.
"A lot of them range from 6'4 to 6'5" which is small at that position but they're able to jump and run up and down the court at high speeds non-stop.
"At my height (6'7) playing against those guys, it took me a little bit of getting used to but also gave me a height advantage in the post and on the perimeter."
Despite Leslie enjoying an encouraging first campaign at the McDonnell Centre, his team finished with an 8-20 record.
"We started off the season defeating the number two ranked team in the conference," he said.
"Throughout the season, we showed championship potential beating teams ranked second to fourth on the ladder, which were nationally ranked sides.
"We went through a lot of adversity with our seniors and top scorers getting injured, causing us to lose games to lower-ranked sides - hurting our conference finals chances.
"Towards to end of the season, we had to win the last three away games to have a chance of conference finals, all of which were highly ranked teams.
"Unfortunately, we lost the last game by five points, eliminating us from finals contention.
"With the amount of freshman in our squad outweighing the amount of freshman on any other team, not to mention the way we were able to develop chemistry, the whole team believes we overachieved and can build going into next season.
"I can't wait to see what the future holds for us."
Upon reflecting on his freshman season, the 19-year-old admits there's one game that will always stick with him.
"One game that stands out to me the most would have to be my first ever game of college," the Shoalhaven Tigers product said.
"We were in Michigan on a nine-hour road trip playing against a nationally-ranked Ferris State University.
"Although our team lost, I managed to top score with 14 points and five rebounds in 12 minutes.
"It stood out to me because I really wasn't even expecting to get 10 minutes of court time but to come on and be able to have a chance to score, made me rethink my goals and set higher expectations for my freshman season."
Like many education centres in the US, Leslie's college had to shut their doors early due to the coronavirus epidemic.
"The end of my college year was a whirlwind," he said.
"One week I'm on spring break, the next we're back at school - which proved to be our last because everything was shutting down early and going online because of COVID-19.
"A lot of the surrounding schools were starting to shut down around us and even though there had been no cases of the virus in West Virginia, the school still thought it would be best to send everyone home until it clears up.
"It wasn't as chaotic where I was compared to other parts in the US - which has again been different since returning home to Australia."
Leslie intends to make the most of his extra time at home, putting in extra work at the gym when he can.
"During my break, my coach has told me to work on lateral quickness, as I'll need it for the power forward position," he said.
"He also wants me to work on my post game, as be believes I have a real potential to be both an inside and outside threat - they're my main goals.
"Also during my five months back at home, I'll be pulling in the Tigers colours once again and hopefully contribute to winning another banner before I go back."
When he does return in August, Leslie has a number of goals he wants to achieve in his sophomore season.
"My ultimate goal is to turn professional after college," he said.
"As such, my objective is to stay in a strong basketball environment with coach Mondragon as much as I can.
"It's in this environment where the team and individual training sessions will push me to the next level, as I approach my senior year."