ANOTHER one bites the dust.

The Latrobe Valley will be represented once more in US college circles when Traralgon’s Asha Nightingale begins her college journey.

The local basketballer committed to Davidson College in North Carolina earlier this year and is set to make her way to US shores by August next year.

Still in Year 12, Nightingale will complete her studies, before taking a much needed break, spending time preparing for the big North American move.

While Nightingale admits she will be winding down, for her that means training in her off time and searching for a WNBL development training opportunity.

Although pen has not yet been put to paper, it is understood that by the time September rolls around, Nightingale will officially be part of the Davidson Wildcats.

“I’m super excited and just really looking forward to the chance I’ll get from Davidson (College) to explore America and play a different game of basketball,” she said.

“College basketball is another step up from what I’m doing right now. Just the atmosphere and the facilities that you have access to there – it’s just like nothing I’ve seen here (in Australia).”

Nightingale has been on two tours with Aussie Basketball Travellers, and on both occasions got to see what Davidson College had to offer.

Like most Latrobe Valley exports who make the trip to US colleges, Nightingale was blown away with the facilities.

“I think we have great facilities in Gippsland, however at Davidson you have a whole basketball stadium, training court, gym, all just for your basketball team,” she said.

“There’s a lot of support and funding for it, so it’s really cool to get to use the stuff they personalise for the college.”

As an academic herself, she found Davidson to be a good fit, as it is also an academic school.

Right now, Nightingale is fully focused on achieving a good ATAR (Australia Tertiary Admission Rank), even though it is not required to be accepted into the college.

“Davidson (College) is also an academic school; I have to have a higher GPA (Grade Point Average) than any other college,” she said.

With a little over a year until Nightingale becomes a fully-fledged college athlete, she still has some time up her sleeve to decide what she wishes to study over her four-year stint.

If given the opportunity, individuals may have different reasons as to why they pursue college sports, whether it may be a new challenge, or to help them grow to a new level, or simply just to have the experience.

Nightingale sees it as an opportunity to develop.

“I think while I’m at college, the biggest thing is to enjoy it and grow, develop, and learn from the older players that I get to play with,” she said.

“Being on the other side of the world, basketball is a little bit different over there, it’s a different game, so just taking that under my belt and hopefully preparing me, so when I finish college, I’ll be at the level where I can either go to the WNBA or play (in the) European leagues, that would be my goal, I’m hoping to travel after college with basketball.”

But coming into this new challenge, Nightingale will have to way up the top and earn her stripes. First things first, she will have to earn her time on the court and make an impression.

“I think the biggest thing for me will just be building up my minutes, and getting the respect from my coaches – putting the work in so that they can trust me to get stuff done when I’m on the court,” she said.

Having basketball at the centre of her life is important to Nightingale, and being able to travel the US far and wide will only make that experience more exciting for the export.

Although she has already seen a handful of states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and California, she is bound to see more up until the end of the decade.

“I think having basketball as the priority of my life will be the most exciting thing. Getting to travel for basketball all over the country, I’ll get to see all the different states and meet lots of new people which is pretty cool.

Her good friend who she has grown up playing basketball with, Emily Scholtes, will be joining her in the US.

Scholtes will be starting a lot sooner, getting over to the US in January or February next year to make an early impression on her new Southern Utah University team.

Despite playing in different conferences, there is the slight chance that the two could meet during March Madness in the post-season, but failing that, the two are likely to catch up during the off-season.

“If our path cross, yes. It will be quite challenging because our schedules will be hectic, but maybe in the summer break,” Nightingale said.

On the topic of Nightingale’s, Asha’s sister, Mica, is hoping to make waves in the college basketball scene when the time comes.

Still just 16-years-old, Mica has a couple of year to make an impression on prospective colleges. Although, she does share the same desire as Asha to go to college.

“I think Mica’s an absolute gun player, so I think anything she puts her mind on she’ll be able to get to,” Asha said about her younger sister.

“She’s going through all the same programs as I had in the national performance program, and is being recognised by the same coaches, so I think that it’s definitely a real possibility.”

While Davidson College might not be seen as one of the big basketballing colleges, it does have history especially in recent times.

Four-time NBA champion, two-time MVP, and nine-time All Star, Steph Curry went to Davidson College, as was the ninth pick of the 2009 NBA Draft.

Curry holds multiple records at Davidson, including all-time Davidson leading scorer (2635 points in three years), all-time leader in three-point field goals made (414), most single season points (974 in 2008/09 season), and all-time leader in 30 and 40-point games (30 and six occasions respectively). Those are just five of his 16 records he holds at Davidson College.

Curry sponsors the Davidson College now and may be the reason why the college is so visible in basketball circles, enhancing interest in prospective students.