ANOTHER local is set to hit the US shores.

Traralgon’s Emily Scholtes has announced that she has committed to the University of Utah as a student athlete, joining their basketball program.

In April, Scholtes visited Southern Utah University, where she will spend the next period of her life, playing basketball and studying and degree in teaching.

“I’m really excited, I went over to got to see all of the coaches and the players and get a look around town,” she said.

“The university itself is really nice, it’s a decent size – it’s not too big, it’s not too small.”

Scholtes was worried she would be overwhelmed in she was admitted to a big school, yet she confirmed that it was a perfect fit for her coming from a town the size of Traralgon.

Upon her visit to Southern Utah, she said that the coaches and staff seemed keen to get her going and into the system.

“I got to see them (the team) train a couple times, I didn’t get on court, but I just got to sit there and watch, and they would come over,” she said.

The college facilities and lifestyle is so much large to that of the Latrobe Valley, catering for just about any need a student athlete might have.

“It’s huge, everything just seems so much bigger and more extravagant,” Scholtes recognised.

“Even the court we play on is huge, and it has the big grandstand, you don’t really get that in Australia at the higher level, especially in women’s sports.

“It’s on a whole new level.”

After gaining early enrolment, Scholtes will head over to the college early next year ahead of the 2025/26 season.

She hopes that given the chance to show she skills earlier, she might be able to work her way into the team before the new season starts.

Southern Utah University competes in the Western Athletic Conference, a conference that the Thunderbirds has seen some success in in recent years, winning the conference in the 2022/23 season.

While in the US, Scholtes will be studying for a degree in teaching, to which she believes teaches universal skills and will be able to apply those skills back home, if she wishes to return to Australian shores after college.

Although Scholtes hasn’t had the time to figure out what she wants to achieve while in the US, she pointed out that she hopes to improve her individual skills.

“The style of games from America to Australia is very different, over there they are very much (dependant on) individual skills, I just want to develop that a bit,” Scholtes said.

Aside from the court, she also wants to make the most of her time in the US, and make sure she enjoys herself, as it is essentially a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“I’m excited to be out on my own, and I get to be an official adult. Also just being able to play in another country is super cool,” Scholtes said.

“Just the whole experience of living somewhere else, out of home.

“I am nervous though, I’ve never really been away from home for a long period of time, so that’ll probably be a little bit scary.”

Although Southern Utah University may look and feel like a small town itself, it’s actually surrounded by big cities similar to Traralgon.

Scholtes says the town to have a similar feel to Traralgon, yet on a larger scale. Funnily enough, similarly like Traralgon to Melbourne, sits Las Vegas about 250 kilometres away, just across the border in Nevada.

Since Scholtes knew she would be off to college, she stayed in contact with former college basketballer, also from Traralgon in Jordan Pyle, who competed at the University of St Francis.

Playing for the same local team, Scholtes admits she would constantly bug her about college, what she should and shouldn’t do, really quizzing the ex-college athlete about her experience.

Despite her nervousness, Scholtes remains keen on the experience ahead.

Looking deeper into the future, Scholtes looked at what life might look like after four years of college under he belt.

“I’m currently playing NBL1, but the goal after college would probably be to come back here (Australia) to play WNBL,” she said.

Although right now, Scholtes doesn’t see herself hitting the level of the WNBA, if the opportunity ever presented itself to her, she would grab at it with both hands.

She doesn’t ultimately feel as if her future lies in the US and feels as if she would like to come home eventually after the college experience.

Scholtes already plans to travel and visit home in her off-season periods of the year, which I’m sure she’ll take advantage of.