Jamelle Horne is one summer school course from finishing his degree, and one agreement from flying to Europe to begin his pro basketball career.
Horne smiled and pointed to his small goatee when asked what he learned as a four-year contributor for the Arizona Wildcats.
"I became a man here," he said. "You see the chin hair?"
Horne, who participated in former teammate Nic Wise's basketball camp last week, said his experience at the UA helped him mature.
"I think Tucson has definitely prepared me to go out into the world, to be thrown out there and actually fend for myself," he said. "I've been through a lot, and everyone knows that, here at Arizona.
"When that curveball comes my way, I'll be able to hit that thing."
The Star talked to the forward last week about his past, his future and the Elite Eight three-pointer that hit the rim:
Horne still fondly remembers the reaction he and his teammates received at McKale Center after losing to Connecticut in the Elite Eight in March.
"Everyone did embrace me," he said. "It was a great turnout at McKale, and a ton of love for a senior."
In that game, Horne made a three-pointer to pull the UA within two and then grabbed a key rebound to set up the final possession.
After Derrick Williams missed a three on the final possession, Kyle Fogg rebounded and kicked to Horne, standing at the three-point line, right elbow extended.
He rose, released and missed the shot by an eyelash.
"That's the way the game goes," Horne said last week. "Of course, it was a huge shot. No one wants to make that thing more than me.
"There were no nightmares, no hauntings, because it looked great, it felt great. As a player, that's what you want."
Horne was proud of his senior season.
"Beside the shot not going in," he said, "I couldn't ask for any better way to take my exit out of Tucson as a ballplayer."
Horne is excited about journeying to the other side of the globe for basketball and hopes to play in Spain, Italy, Germany or France. He turned down offers to play in Japan.
"Not to say I'm tired of the States," he said. "There's just a lot more to see. If I'm given an opportunity to go over and live a certain lifestyle, live comfortably and also keep my eyes open to a lot of new things, that's something I'm going to take full advantage of."
Horne could mimic Wise's first season overseas. The former point guard played for Telekom Baskets Bonn in Germany; Horne said he's "never seen him happier."
Wise said European basketball was a good deal.
"Just to be able to love what you do and get paid for it," Wise said.
No summer league
The NBA lockout means no summer league and fewer opportunities for clubs to watch free agents.
But Horne earned confidence from three days in a Los Angeles Lakers minicamp in June before the lockout began.
"Just being in an establishment like that - seeing (coach) Mike Brown's face, (general manager) Mitch Kupchak, and a few of the Lakers guys - and competing at a level like that, it just kind of let me know that I can be a professional basketball player," he said.
Horne has been playing small forward, which he called his "original position."
He'd like to end up in the NBA one day.
"That's definitely a lifelong dream," he said. "But I'm going to stop looking ahead and start living in the present.
"Right now, my focus is to get a job."