Matt Black to take on USA

BRIGHT FUTURE: Naracoorte's Matt Black will be heading to the United States to play college basketball. Photo: Supplied

BRIGHT FUTURE: Naracoorte's Matt Black will be heading to the United States to play college basketball. Photo: Supplied

Matt Black is getting ready to take on the United States of America, as he fulfills his dream of playing American college basketball.

The 19-year-old Pioneers player has been offered the chance to play for American River College in Sacramento, California and will be making a move to the USA once COVID-19 restrictions ease.

The opportunity is the culmination of years of hard work and training for the Mount Gambier Pioneers, school teams and the local A grade men's team.

"It's been very long, and my parents and the family have made so many sacrifices I couldn't count them, and I am very grateful," he said.

"A lot of the metro kids work really hard, but being in the metro area, you can get your name out there a little bit more, which gives them an advantage.

"Being a country kid, it's good to finally have some pay-off - you are always just waiting on your time to take your moment and it'll be good to have that new scenery to show what I can do."

Black was noticed by the college during a tour of the United States with the Tennison College basketball team in December.

He thought that his dream, which he has had since Year 8, was dashed after he was injured during the trip, but despite never seeing him play, the college snapped up the chance to have him on the team.

"I did my ankle halfway through the tour in a game in Oakland and was out for six months," he said.

"It was just before we were supposed to play for the college coaches, so the college hasn't actually seen me play yet.

"It was a surprise they picked me - we knew they were going to come watch, and then a week before I did my ankle.

"I thought it was over for me, but thankfully they still wanted me and my mate."

The big move will be extra exciting, with best mate Molok Mokoi by his side.

"It's going to be much easier - he's my best mate for the last four years, we play together in the Pioneers and we went to high school together, so it will make the whole move a whole lot easier."

Black is looking forward to the move, but he isn't sure how the future may look for him.

"I want to make a living out of basketball somehow - I've wanted to go to college since Year 8, but setting short-term goals is what I've always done," he said.

"I've wanted to go overseas and see what I can do on a bigger stage and now that has come to a head and now I can look forward again and perform to my best.

"Long-term, I don't know what I'll be doing in five or 10 years, but I will take things in my stride and if I can live off basketball, travel the world and do what I love, then I'll be over the moon.