"The NBA is definitely going to happen".
Canberra basketball product Chima Moneke's end goal has never wavered after he signed a one-year deal with French second tier outfit Rouen Metropole to play in the Ligue Nationale de Basket Pro B.
The 22-year-old is refusing to give up on his NBA dream despite being overlooked in the draft, which has put him on the hard road towards basketball's biggest stage.
It remains a road he is willing to take, with Moneke's steely resolve proving vital as he prepares to make a massive change in his game to get to the top.
"People’s roads are all different and I totally get that, and it’s going to make results even sweeter, getting there," Moneke said.
"The NBA is never over. I feel like since I’m changing positions and I want to be seen primarily as a small forward, as a wing in the NBA, teams have told me and trainers have told me I’ve just got to prove I can do it on a consistent basis.
"I will never be someone that can be put into a box of what I can do because I know I can bring a lot of gifts to the table but I totally get that. I’m going to do that this year and next year I feel like I have a great chance of getting into the NBA."
Moneke is in Melbourne as he prepares to return to Los Angeles on August 2, after which he will link up with his new teammates at a training camp hosted by the club's part-owner and Washington Wizards player Ian Mahinmi in Dallas.
Then he will head to France on about August 20 - and in the meantime Moneke will take "no days off, no breaks" as he plots his path towards one of the biggest sports leagues on the globe.
The Rouen Metropole offer was the first one tabled for Moneke when he made a change in his representation, and after speaking with players that had featured for the club or in the same league he jumped at it.
The Nigerian-born prospect quickly decided there was no point in waiting - if this one was good enough financially and allows him to play in a European league, why wait?
"Obviously my main goal was to play in the NBA this year but realistically I understand why things happened the way they did," Moneke said.
"I’m grateful for the opportunity because I’m still playing the game I love. I’ve been to France before and it’s a beautiful country, to finally start making money doing something I’ve done for the past nine years is pretty amazing. I’m very happy.
"France, regardless of what division you playing in, people will be watching. France is a very respected league, it’s probably the third-best league in the world I think.
"There’ll be people watching and I just know I’ve got to play well all the time and especially at the right time because people will be watching."
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