Oliver’s the Maine man after following his American dream

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County Upper School’s Oliver Barrett has become the latest pupil to join an American University, to continue his educational and basketball career.

Barrett has linked up with the University of Maine in Presque Isle, becoming the fourth player from coach Darren Johnson’s team to head over to the states this year and the 19th overall in four years.

The youngster will now find himself under the guidance of coach Jim Casciano, who has almost 30 years of coaching college basketball in the USA.

Speaking of his move, Barrett is relishing the opportunity to fulfil a long term dream.

“As we are all aware, the USA is capital for the sport of basketball,” he said. “The facilities and funding provided in the country are unprecedented in comparison with other countries, particularly the UK.

“Ever since I began playing in middle school, I had envisioned playing and perhaps even studying in the States, a dream of mine I am now able to grasp.

“I would like to praise the County Upper Basketball Academy and coach Johnson for helping me achieve such a success and teaching me independence and determination.

“It is important to understand the possibilities out there for us British players to grab on to.

“The opportunity is simply too good to be ignored, I’m overjoyed to have been a part of such a marvel and would recommend it in a heartbeat.”

Johnson, who has coached Barrett since the beginning of the 2008-09 season, took the opportunity to praise his latest star, with the hope that he will act as an inspiration to others.

“I am proud of what Oliver has achieved over the past three years, he has now found a goal that he really wants to work at and achieve,” he added.

“I am hoping he will be ready for this challenge as nothing in this life worth pursuing will be easy and this is one of them.

“This is a great achievement for Oliver and a great mile stone for our basketball programme, I wish him all the best for the coming season at UMPI”.

“Hopefully there will be many local players with hopes of playing basketball with a USA or UK University, who will hear about what Oliver has achieved and will want to follow in his foot steps.”