RIO DE JANEIRO (NCAA/Olympics) - One of the goals of young, USA-bound Cristiano Felício is to be in the Brazil squad for the Rio De Janeiro Games in 2016.
A standout player for the country at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Latvia last year, when he averaged 9.5 points and 7.1 rebounds to help the Brazilians to a ninth-place finish, the 20-year-old Felício is on a basketball journey that just one month ago took him to California where he will attend CCSE Prep Academy in Sacramento in the hope of winning a college scholarship.
Leaving home, where he played basketball for Minas Tênis Clube, was a big sacrifice for Cristiano but it was one he was willing to make.
"It was not easy," he says.
"Anyone who knows me knows that I am someone of few words and I love my friends.
"I needed to make the decision so I could meet other challenges."
Cristiano believes the best way to realize one of his dreams, to become a player in the NBA, is to go the American college route.
"I believe so," he says.
"This will enhance and facilitate the observation of coaches and scouts.
"But first, I want to experience the NCAA tournament, which is very interesting and competitive as important as the NBA."
Many of the greatest players in the history of the sport have played American college basketball, including the likes of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, and been stars in the NCAA Tournament.
There are Brazilians in the NBA, though, who did not play American college basketball, like Leandro Barbosa, Anderson Varejao and Tiago Splitter.
Cristiano has a lot of hard work in front of him both on and off the court if he wants to be a success.
He does have clear aims.
"Getting to the NBA is a dream and also winning an Olympic medal for the Brazilian national team," he says.
"They are two things that are among my main goals as a player."
Cristiano, who was speaking in an interview published by the Brazilian Basketball Confederation, doesn't hesitate when asked about his idol in America.
"It's Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics)," he says.
"He is a player that I really admire and shows desire in every game.
"I hope to be like him one day and maybe take a picture next to him for a keepsake."
Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Olympics.
Does he plan on being a part of that squad?
All Cristiano says is that he will do everything in his power to make that team.
"I can guarantee that I'll train more and more in order to deserve to be on the Olympic team in 2016," he says.