Myerscough College’s Basketball Academy is preparing to make its debut in the European Youth Basketball League (EYBL), later this month.
An incredible opportunity for Myerscough students will see the group head to Tallinn, Estonia, for Stage One of the tournament, playing the five games across three days. The under-20 competition regular season, which is staged across three weekends throughout the year, concludes with a Final Four next April.
Myerscough Programme Director, Neal Hopkins, said: ‘’The experience will really define us and I am sure that it will help propel us to the next level.
“We are ambitious and hungry and I would like to think that us committing to a European schedule demonstrates just how serious we are. I feel that we have the opportunity to make a statement and showcase some of the talent we have in Britain.
“I would like to think that this step will encourage others within the U.K. to take a similar route, as the exposure for the next generation is hugely important and I hope the wider impact of us entering the EYBL will be felt. We have such a fantastic platform at Myerscough and with the backing of senior management we really have a chance to establish our programme in Europe.
“I am very proud of what we have achieved in our relatively short existence, it has taken an incredible amount of time and effort and we haven’t always got it right but I think our inclusion in the EYBL is something to be celebrated as it will offer us a platform to develop in so many ways.”
Myerscough tips off on Sept 21st against TTÜ Korvpallikool (Tallinn), before matching up with Västra Hisingen (Göteborg, SWE) later that the evening. The visit to Estonia’s capital city also includes games versus Tallinn Kalev and BC Helsinki ROCKS (Helsinki, FIN) on the Saturday and BC Alvik Basket (Stockholm, SWE) on the Sunday.
The Academy was drawn into Group B alongside Valmiera ORDO (Valmiera, LAT), BC Alvik Basket (Stockholm, SWE) and BC Tsmoki-Minsk (Minsk, BEL), with the winner of the group advancing to April’s Final Four.
Myerscough will make visits to Ventspils, Latvia and Lublin, Poland for Stages II and III in December and February, respectively, with schedules and opponents to be confirmed.
The EYBL is one of the premier FIBA competitions for juniors and features renowned teams from across the continent, with Myerscough joining the Under-20 ‘Euroleague’ format tournament.
Neal Hopkins added: "Playing in the EYBL will provide our players, staff and the programme with an amazing opportunity to gain experience playing at a very high level against some of the best U20 teams in Europe.
“It is something that we have been working towards for a few years and it is brilliant to have achieved this goal.”
“I am extremely excited to lead the programme into the EYBL. It is a real honour to have been accepted to compete in such a prestigious event. As an Academy, we are committed to ensuring our players have the best possible experience whilst they are with us and I am very proud of our inclusion.”
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by Dave Salmon