Dream comes true for students awarded scholarships to play basketball at college in America

Dream comes true for students awarded scholarships to play basketball at college in America

Two New City College students will be flying off to the USA this summer after winning a full scholarship to study and play top level basketball for a college in Louisiana.

Josiah Asantewa-Philip (above) and Suhayb Choaibi, who study Level 3 Sport and are part of the London Lions Basketball Development Partnership at NCC Hackney campus, will have their American college fees, books, food, living expenses and an apartment, all funded through the scholarship for two years.

This amazing opportunity for the boys, who are both 19, has been offered by America’s Baton Rouge Community College after they were spotted by scouts when playing in the European Youth Basketball League (EYBL) – the most prestigious youth competition in Europe.

Josiah captains the London Lions U20s team and is ‘the best player in the league’ according to his coach, Andre Lockhart. He will travel with his fellow player, Suhayb, to Louisiana in June, for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Josiah said they were both ecstatic and determined to make the most of this incredible experience.

Andre, Director of Basketball and Head Coach at NCC, said: “They have a bright future ahead of them. It is most young basketball players’ dream to make it to America – and they are getting to do it at no cost to themselves.

“They will have to leave their families and friends and it will be a huge culture shock but it’s such a great opportunity that will change their lives.”

While they attend Baton Rouge, Josiah and Suhayb will study for an academic associate degree as well as playing basketball in the Junior College League ­– travelling to towns and cities across Eastern USA.

Meanwhile, before they leave, they are working hard at New City College to get the best grades in their Level 3 course and they continue to play in the EYBL, having travelled recently to Romania and Slovakia for tournaments.

Andre added: “They are focused students who are aiming high and I’m sure they will make a great success of their scholarship in America. It will be tough at times but at least they are going together and have each other.”

Josiah and Suhayb are following in the footsteps of other famous former Hackney students – the great Darius Defoe and Taiwo Badmus:

  • Darius is the most decorated and successful player in the history of the British Basketball League (BBL) with 27 trophies. He started playing the sport seriously when he joined the Basketball Academy while a student at Hackney and has become somewhat of a legend in the basketball world with his record-breaking performances for Newcastle Eagles.
  • Taiwo also started playing basketball under the academy coaches at Hackney campus. He went to America after being awarded a scholarship to play at Fairmont State. After a hugely successful final two years in the USA, he moved to Spain and turned pro in 2018-19. He still plays professionally in Spain and is a member of the Ireland Senior Men’s team, regularly playing international matches all over the world.

New City College is partnered with the London Lions – one of the UK’s top professional teams competing at a national level. On our London Lions pathway, you will be able to develop your basketball alongside studying for a vocational qualification. The course runs at either our Epping Forest or Hackney campus.

On the programme you will:

  • Benefit from expert coaching and training
  • Have opportunities to play matches in the cup and league at the London Copper Box Arena, Stratford
  • Train with and meet professional elite level players from the Lions team
  • Gain a vocational qualification to prepare you for future careers in sports, coaching or sports development
  • Follow in the footsteps of some of our previous students who have progressed to become professional players for either the London Lions or for teams in America.

Apply now! If you have the talent and drive, the opportunity is there!

Two New City College students will be flying to the USA this summer after winning a full scholarship to study and play basketball for Baton Rouge Community College in Louisiana.