London ball

New Basketball Academy – Yashfee Sultana, Greatfields

At Greatfields School, a brand new basketball academy has opened alongside the Sixth Form, where students compete in tournaments ranging from local basketball to international basketball. I interviewed one of the coaches, Stephen Marcel, on November 1, 2022, to get some additional information about himself and the academy.

Coach Stephen chose basketball specifically over other sports since he’s played it all his life and said “it made sense”. They decided to establish this academy in Greatfields because of the “potential of the school”. The sixth form opened in September 2022. Therefore, there is a chance that new passionate players will come to attend the academy.

His journey to becoming a professional basketball player began with earning a basketball scholarship and then playing semi-professionally. He had to attend 3 training sessions a day.

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

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

By 2024, the basketball academy aims to become one of the top basketball academies in the country. Players play 1 match per week. For example, the match against Longroad Sixth form. Players then receive college scholarships related to the sports industry.

International trips also took place for example: Estonia. However, the trip was very hectic – there were flight delays, they had to stay in different hotels or airports in Venice, France and Latvia before arriving and, shockingly, a man got passed out on the stairs of an airplane. However, there will be more organized trips, 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 a high standard in Europe which made it a wonderful experience.

Overall, basketball members have a positive experience at the academy. Ashley Silva says “There are a lot of good opportunities.” Franko Rica considers that there is “a lot of team chemistry”

There are many essential skills you can have in basketball such as: shooting, dribbling, rebounding, defending and ball security. Coach Stephen thinks the most important skill is to play smart and read the game. Also, you shouldn’t let emotions negatively change the game.

Advice he has for aspiring basketball players includes:

. Work with high intensity in every game

. Listen to your coach but also make your own decisions

For sixth graders within the basketball academy, he thinks management is extremely important because you are a student first and then a basketball player. They must be exceptionally focused in class and complete tasks on time.