In Greatfields School a brand-new Basketball academy has opened alongside the Sixth form, where students partake in tournaments ranging from local to international basketball. I interviewed one of the coaches, Stephen Marcel on November 1st 2022, to find out additional information about himself and the academy.

Coach Stephen chose basketball specifically over other sports since he has played it, his whole life and stated that “It made sense.” They decided to set up this academy at Greatfields due to ‘the potential of the school'. The Sixth form opened in September 2022. Therefore, there is a chance of new passionate players coming to attend the academy.

His journey towards becoming a professional basketball player began by obtaining a basketball scholarship, and then playing semi-professionally. He had to attend 3 training sessions daily.

A highlight of Stephen’s career was a few play offs (an extra match to decide the outcome of a tournament). However, the biggest moment which stands out would be his match which occurred in Italy. He said it was one of his ‘biggest games’ as he was against one of the top players in the country. To overcome this monumental challenge, he quoted:

“I worked harder than my teammates. I worked harder, harder and harder and trusted the process.”

By 2024, the basketball academy aims to become one of the top basketball academies within the country. Players do 1 game per week. For instance, the match against Longroad Sixth form. Players then receive university scholarships relating to the sports industry.

Interntional trips have also occurred for example: Estonia. However, the trip was very hectic- there were flight delays, they had to stay in different hotels or Airports within Venice, France and Latvia before arriving and shockingly one man fainted on the airstair of a plane. There will be more organised trips though, for example next January there will be a trip to Poland. However, the coach believes the basketball facilities in Estonia were top-notch and had an elevated level within Europe- hence making it a wonderful experience.

Overall, basketball members have a positive experience within the academy. Ashley Silva claims “There are lots of good opportunities.” Franko Rica considers there to be "A lot of team chemistry “

There are many essential skills you can have in basketball such as: shooting, dribbling, rebounding, defence and ball security. Coach Stephen believes the most important skill is playing smart and reading the game. Additionally, you shouldn’t let emotions negatively change the game.

Tips he has for aspiring basketballers include:

. Work with high intensity each game

. Listen to your coach but also make your own decisions

For sixth formers within the basketball academy, he believes management is exceedingly important as you're a student first, then basketball player. They must be exceptionally focused in class and complete tasks punctually.