Three and a half years ago, Omar Samhan was playing with the Dallas Mavericks' summer league team, coming off a stellar four-year career at St Mary's College in California.
He'd been one of the best players in the country his senior year, leading the Gaels to a height most mid-major programs never reach - the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 round.
In five summer league games, the nearly 7-foot centre scored 10 points per game and pulled down seven rebounds, close to the numbers put up by current NBA big men Patrick Patterson and DeAndre Jordan, among others.
With a couple of the right breaks, he might've been able to make the Mavericks for the 2010/11 season. Instead, he's gone from Lithuania, to Germany to the Philippines and, now, Egypt, his father's homeland.
On Sunday he was in Dubai, taking the floor with the Egyptian national team to face the UAE at the Dubai International Basketball Tournament.
Samhan, like many other college stars before him, was swept up by the disconnect between the NBA and Europe that can sometimes makes the matter of a career on one side of the Atlantic or the other maddeningly arbitrary.
His is a winding, if not really uncommon, path for young professional basketball players. Every year, maybe a few weeks before NBA teams will ultimately decide who will be at the end of their benches, European teams make generous offers to American college stars, a take-it-or-leave-it guarantee.
Samhan took it.
The former three-point sharpshooter, one-time Suns GM and current NBA television analyst Steve Kerr once told Grantland's Brett Koremenos, "There's a lot of guys out there [at summer league] that don't make the NBA that are definitely good enough to make the NBA. And some of it is right time, right place."
Samhan puts it this way: "I probably could have got that 12th, 13th spot with Dallas, but Zalgiris (in Lithuania) offers me three years, over a million dollars," he said. "It's hard to say no to that for a 'maybe'."
That's not to say he's complaining about his path, or regrets the direction he's gone. Double back through that list: Lithuania, Germany, Philippines, Egypt. Pretty cool for a guy just out of college.
"I actually did an interview with somebody from Slam Magazine a week ago and he asked me, during the Sweet 16 did I think I would ever be playing basketball in Dubai? No, I didn't," he says. "But it's been a great fit, a great situation. Got to play in Asia, Europe, now the Middle East.
"Off the court you just get perspective for other cultures. I work out in Vegas at Impact with all NBA guys, they're my boys, I talk to Jared Dudley a few times a month, still even over here, and that's the thing those guys don't get over there. One night they might be in Memphis, next night might be in Orlando. One night - especially in Euroleague - I might be in Rome, another night in Paris, it's awesome. Coming to Dubai, Egypt. The best part of it is to see the world and play a game.'
The actual quality of the basketball, of course, varies. In two seasons out of college with Zalgiris he reached Euroleague Top 16, where he was exposed to top European competition from the likes of Olympiakos, CSKA Moscow and Barcelona.
In the Philippines, with Talk 'n Text Tropang Texters, he'd sometimes find himself matched up against bygone NBA big men, like DJ Mbenga.
Other times, like at this week's tournament where he'll go up against an And 1 travelling team one night and the UAE squad two nights later, he might find opposition of a whole range of varying competitiveness in the span of just a few days.
It can be kind of difficult to adapt your game to so many levels.
"It was easy in college at St Mary's. I'm right at home, they give me the ball every time, I'm on TV, it's great. Since then it's different everywhere you go - a different style, every coach expects something different out of a big," he says. "And I have a weird skill set for a big. I like to shoot, shoot fadeaways, up and unders, stuff like that. A lot of coaches aren't used to that style from an American big.
"They want a big guy that's gonna run and jump and block shots and dunk every ball, miss free throws," he jokes. "It's tough at times dealing with that."
He points out that even Ty Lawson, probably one of the five or six best point guards in the NBA, was inconsistent when he joined Zalgiris during the 2011 NBA lockout. In seven Euroleague games, Lawson averaged 7.5 points.
"There were nights when he'd have 20 points and 14 assists, stuff like that, then there's nights he'd have four points and two assists and 10 turnovers, and I told him, 'It's just different, you just gotta go with it.' It's funny, a lot of people in Lithuania didn't think he was very good, or worth the money, and then he's averaging 30 points a game in the play-offs against the Lakers, and they're like, 'Why didn't you do that for us?' It's just different," he says.
"It could be the same week - one night you feel unstoppable, the next you can't buy a bucket."
Samhan has settled for the moment in Alexandria, Egypt and, after years where it wouldn't work out for one reason or another, he's got the time to devote to the Egyptian national team, something he always wanted to do.
It's easy to see he's into it. Against the UAE, he probably only plays seven or eight minutes, with the Egyptian coaches favouring a smaller lineup against the undersized Emiratis. But even from the bench, he's as vocal as anyone in the gym, bounces up after a big play and, while others are doing layup drills during halftime, he's doing footwork drills up and down the sideline.
If it's weird for him at all to be playing an ostensibly international match in a gym that would fit right in with West Coast Conference schools like University of the Pacific and University of San Francisco, he doesn't show it.
"I tried to make it work a few times, but in college our coach wanted us to stick around for summer, my first two years out of college I was at NBA summer league, the third year I tore my ACL - so this was the first year I could play summer basketball and it's great timing, I'm glad it worked out.
"This year with it being a World Cup year, I was definitely interested in playing for them and it just worked out. Perfect fit."
This is where the Omar Samhan World Tour may finally reach its end.
He's leaning toward spending the year with an Egyptian club, likely in Alexandria, before heading to the Fiba World Cup with Egypt in Spain at the end of August.
If he performs well there, catches a scout's eye, gives the NBA's Developmental League a go - who knows? It's not out of the question an NBA team might be in the market for a quick-footed, 6-foot-11 big man with a soft shooting touch.
"I think in the next year or two, I'm gonna try to play D League, work my way back there. My dream is to play in the NBA, and I wanna get back to that level," he says. "I've been to training camp with Houston and Dallas, both went well, but I had good offers so I left, or they asked me to go to the D League and I left, but I'll really try this year to stick it out and make it happen.
"And I think the World Cup will help with that. You play well in Spain, so many players play in that (competition), you never know what will happen."
Travel the globe. Earn a little bit of money. Return to the NBA dream. Not a bad route for a 25 year old.