The finals of the Jr. NBA Basketball England League ended yesterday at Nechells Wellbeing Centre in Birmingham with St. Bede’s Middle School emerging victorious in the co-ed league. St. Bede’s, representing NBA franchise the Houston Rockets, prevailed over Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School representing the New York Knicks and were crowned champions by former NBA player Vladimir Radmanovic. Fairfax School and George Salter Academy finished in third and fourth place, respectively.
Ahead of the finals, Radmanovic hosted a Jr. NBA Clinic, teaching children basketball fundamentals and the values of sportsmanship and teamwork. The event also included a shooting contest presented by Spalding, which was won by Jake Staunton and Shea Synott, two young students from St. Bede’s Middle School. Each received a trophy and a Spalding basketball for their efforts.
The tournament, a secondary school basketball programme for boys and girls aged 11-12, was organised by the NBA in partnership with Basketball England and tipped off last November. It saw the participation of 30 Birmingham-based secondary schools, which battled it out in an eight-game season followed by single-elimination playoffs and yesterday’s league finals. Each school represented one of the 30 NBA teams and received corresponding NBA team branded T-shirts for their games.
Matthew Russell, coach of the winning team representing St. Bede’s Middle School, spoke after his victory: “I feel over the moon. It’s fantastic to be involved in events like these and the support from the NBA and Basketball England has been fantastic.” On how his team prepared for the final event, coach Russell said: “We started last year doing a little bit of basics and then this year we concentrated on the shooting and the kids have improved a lot, enough to win it today.”
After receiving the trophy for their victory in the Spalding Shooting Contest, Jake Staunton and Shea Synott commented on how it was to be part of the competition. Jake said: “It felt great to win the shooting contest. We thought we were going to win it and we really did in the end!” Shea continued: “It was an amazing experience, I’m so happy to be here. I’m definitely going to continue to play basketball in the future.”
Former NBA player Vladimir Radmanovic spoke after presenting the winning team with their championship rings: “Seeing all these kids having fun with the game of basketball today was great. The support they get from the NBA and Basketball England is unbelievable and you can really tell the kids appreciate being a part of the Jr. NBA League programme.”
Source: Pitch Media
Image: NBA UK