Stan Okoye has been all over the world since graduating from Knightdale High School in 2009.
So far, the 23-year old forward has played basketball for teams on five different continents.
After high school Okoye played at Virginia Military Institute where he had an outstanding collegiate career as a Keydet, culminating in a 2013 Big South Conference Player of the Year award. But when the NBA draft began looking like a pipedream, Okoye's journey really began.
"So far, I've learned that the way you do business oversees is a lot different than the way we do things in America," said Okoye, now playing for Pallacanestro Varese in Italy's Lega Basket Serie A. "A lot of things aren't as guaranteed as you think, which is why my first year I bounced around a lot."
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Okoye's basketball career abroad began in the summer of 2013, when he represented Nigeria as a member of the senior men's national team at the FIBA Africa Championship, held in Ivory Coast.
There, Okoye got his first chance to brush shoulders with some of the game's greatest.
"I got to play with some very talented players," Okoye said. "Playing with guys like Al-Farouq Aminu, who plays for the Dallas Mavericks right now, and his brother (Alade Aminu), Ike Diogu and Gani Lawal-these guys all have NBA experience, and I'm just playing alongside them."
From there, Okoye had to figure out his first professional season. First, he signed with Ikaros of Greece, although he never appeared in a game for that squad. From Greece, he landed briefly in Israel, playing only four games with Barak Netanya.
"I played a couple games, and it didn't work out," Okoye said of his time in Israel. "But I learned a lot there. I learned a lot about the culture. Right now it's pretty hostile, but when I was there it was pretty calm. You'd never know anything was going on like that in a country like Israel. A lot of Western influence there. They love America."
Finding his footing
Going from Africa to Europe to the Middle East in a matter of months was no layup. Okoye says he never got a chance to settle down until this summer, when he played with the Perth Redbacks of Australia's State Basketball League.
After all, he was just happy to be back in a place where everyone spoke English.
With the Redbacks, Okoye was designated as an "import," or a non-Australian player. Each team is only allowed two imports in the SBL, so Okoye was sure to make the most of his limited opportunity.
"I was there for about six months," Okoye said. "I think I had a successful season there, and that opened the door for me to come and play in Italy."
Okoye doesn't hesitate when he says the level of competition he sees in Italy is the best he has faced in his career. Pallacanestro Varese might not have the same ring as the New York Knicks, but Okoye's now competing with some of the best European players. Serie A is a first-tier level club competition with fewer restrictions on imports.
From here, Okoye thinks his career can take off.
"I just want to have a career where I can say I got the most out of it," Okoye said. "It doesn't have to be the NBA. If you get this far, you've already reached a certain level of success, but there's other places I want to reach ... just to learn a lot, on and off the court."
'A lot of great memories'
Having traveled to so many places - and with apparently more to come - Okoye still has a remarkable memory and fondness of his time at Knightdale.
He recalls winning the conference tournament his senior year and the four years of hard work it took to pull that off. He remembers playing against Wakefield's Darius Johnson-Odom (who now plays with Okoye in Serie A) and pretty much everything else about his high school playing days.
Former Knightdale coach Battle Watkins also remembers those days clearly.
"He was one of the kids that helped us establish having a respectable program," Watkins said of Okoye. "The kind of person he became - he not only got a basketball scholarship but was an honor student at (Virginia Military Institute) and got a degree - meant a lot too because he was a good model for our kids.
"A lot of people who played at Knightdale looked up to him for that. He was a total, complete package."
Watkins and Okoye have stayed in touch and become close friends over the years. When Watkins thinks of his former star player today, he thinks of how Okoye has grown as a person and overcome hardships to find success.
"I think he ended up being a very humble person through his maturity process, and I think a lot of people appreciate that."
Okoye tries not to travel on the court, but his experiences follow him whenever he travels from one destination to the next.
"I've got a lot of great memories," he said.
Staff writer Aaron Moody contributed to this report.