HUNTINGTON - Growing up in Charleston, Jon Elmore knew from a young age that all he wanted to do was play professional basketball.
On Tuesday, that dream came to fruition when Marshall's record-setting scorer announced that he has signed with Alma Pallacanestro Trieste of Italian Serie A - the top league in Italy - for the 2019-20 season.
"It's been a fun process," Elmore said. "Ever since I was a kid, this was my goal - to play basketball for a living and play professionally. I didn't know what that meant, but evidently, the first stop is in Italy."
Elmore signed with Pallacanestro Trieste after spending the early portion of the summer with the Boston Celtics in the NBA Summer League. His contract is for one year with an option for a second year. Details of the contract were not disclosed.
Since returning from the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Elmore has been working out with local trainer Chris Lane, along with former Marshall teammate Stevie Browning, who is also playing professionally overseas.
Elmore said he will remain in West Virginia for the next two weeks before leaving for his new home in Italy on Aug. 5.
The 6-foot-3, 187-pound guard said he is eager to check out his new basketball home and get to work as a professional basketball player.
Trieste, Italy, is a port city located on the northeasternmost point of Italy, bordering Slovenia and being to the north of Croatia.
"It's a beautiful spot, from the pictures I've seen," Elmore said. "It's on the coast, and there are 200,000-plus people in the city, and its metropolitan area is 400,000. I hear it's a really big basketball place, too, and they really support the team."
Just as he came to Marshall wanting to prove himself as an elite Division I player, Elmore goes into Serie A looking to show everyone who passed him up exactly what they missed out on.
"There have been a lot of people who passed up on me and doubted my ability throughout my life, and at each level, I've tried to show people what they've missed out on," Elmore said. "My next step is to go to Italy and set the place on fire and show everyone what they missed."
From a game-play standpoint, Elmore said the European style is one that fits his game - one he's learned from Marshall head coach Dan D'Antoni.
"A lot of it is knowing how to play the game of basketball," Elmore said. "It's very unique in that there isn't a whole lot of isolation. It's a lot of passing, moving, reading the game, and I think I've got a knack for that, so I'm excited."
Dan D'Antoni's coaching style is very much in line with that of his brother, Mike D'Antoni, the current Houston Rockets head coach, who also happens to be one of the most revered players in Serie A history.
That fact was not lost on Elmore as he spoke of the excitement of traveling to Trieste to start his professional journey.
"It's the same league that Mike (D'Antoni) was in - the No. 1 league in Italy, which is one of the best in the world," Elmore said. "Mike played over there and is one of the most famous Italian players ever in the history of the sport. It's a good opportunity, and it's good for Marshall as well."
Elmore said that, athletically, his offseason training with Lane has him in the best shape of his life with improvements in elevation on shots and quickness with his first step, which will both help him in his rookie season.
"I'm excited, and I'm going to make the most of every day," Elmore said. "I'm going to live in the moment and enjoy living in a different country, exploring and playing basketball against some of the better players in the world."
Elmore heads to Italy having broken Marshall and Conference USA records in scoring (2,638 points) and assists (783) during his career with the Thundering Herd.
Elmore is the only player in NCAA history to surpass 2,500 points and 750 assists for his career and is also the only active player to hold conference records in both scoring and assists.