Just a few months ago, top Kiwi basketball prospect Sam Mennenga moved to the US and was living the American college dream.
From the freshman dorms at North Carolina's Davidson College to team travel in a private plane, new experiences were coming thick and fast.
To put it simply, he was loving it.
“It was great fun in a new environment,” Mennenga told 1 NEWS.
“Basketball-wise, it was great. Academically, it was great. And socially, it was awesome. So it was a lot of fun.”
And then Covid-19 hit and the new life he’d just established was flipped upside down again.
Mennenga was prepared to wait the coronavirus out in his new home but instead he’s back in Auckland, watching on as first the pandemic and now protests rock the country he's quickly come to love.
“It’s a bit odd because before this I wouldn’t pay that much attention to America but now every little detail that happens, it’s affecting me as well.”
The 18-year-old is hoping to return next month but in the meantime he’s managed to organise training with the Breakers.
And if he was missing any of the American banter he’d grown to love, fellow Westlake old boy Rob Loe has managed to fill the void as an alumni from rival US college, Saint Louis.
“We talked a little s*** earlier in the week,” Loe said.
“There’s only so much you can do - he hasn’t played a game yet.
“When he goes to St Louis, he'll realise.”