Jade Melbourne has her fingers crossed for a smooth departure to Arizona State University as the former Canberra Capitals guard intensifies her under-19s World Cup bid.
The newly-crowed Capital on the Rise will start her college career with the Sun Devils in spring, with her travel schedule pending on the Gems' campaign.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to inflict uncertainty on international sport, but Melbourne was hopeful the under-19s World Cup would go ahead as planned in Hungary from August 7 to 15.
Should it take place, the 18-year-old guard would stay in Australia to train until the tournament and then head to Arizona. Otherwise, July was pencilled in for departure.
"There was an Australian, [Imogen Greenslade], at my school and she was able to get over [last year] so fingers crossed," Melbourne said.
"But then again, with all the uncertainty over there with everything that's happened and how bad COVID-19 is, it is a bit of a worry.
"We'll see what happens in the next six months, really. I'm just taking it day by day and keeping up-to-date."
Melbourne is back in Canberra and training with Basketball Australia's Centre of Excellence, which will also host a four-day camp for the Gems and Emus next week.
The two squads will come together at the Australian Institute of Sport from February 27 to March 2, with the preliminary camp to commence Basketball Australia's preparations for the under-19s World Cup.
David Herbert will lead the Gems campaign after being an assistant coach on their 2019 team that won silver.
"Everyone is looking forward to getting back on court as a collective, competing and having fun," Melbourne said.
"[The preliminary camp] is super important because when you get to this level, they're always assessing you.
"You have to put your best foot forward regardless of what the situation is. If [the competition goes ahead], they're going based off this camp and always going to be looking at us.
"You have to put your best foot forward, do your best because if you want a spot in the team and represent your country, that's what you have to do."
Former Capital Gemma Potter, who opted to forego her UCLA scholarship, was also part of the 25-strong Gems squad for the preliminary camp.
"I've spoken to Gemma, she's super excited to come here and play basketball because she's had a tough year with college and living in Victoria," Melbourne said.
"She's super pumped to put the green and gold back on and come back to Canberra. I just can't wait to see her again, train and play alongside her."
Melbourne was crowed 'Capital on the Rise' for the 2020 WNBL season last week, having enjoyed a breakout campaign under Canberra coach Paul Goriss.
She started 10 matches out of 14 for the Capitals, averaging 8.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, two assists and shooting 44 per cent from the floor.
"I had a great season and loved every minute of it with the team and to capture it off with that, it was pretty special," Melbourne said.
"It was an honour, really, because of all the people who had won it before me. The Capitals are such a talented group and have had some legends come through the club.
"To reflect on [the season], realise what I've done and been able to do was pretty special, and something I'll cherish forever, really.
"If I come home, I'll definitely be looking to come back to the Capitals because it's a great club and I've loved every minute of it."