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County Upper Basketball Academy graduate Sam Kesinro prepares for start of US College career after gaining a sports scholarship at Genesee Community College

County Upper Basketball Academy have been watching the progress of their most recent alumni to go Stateside, as he gears up for the start of the new season.

Sam Kesinro earned a basketball scholarship to SUNY Genesee Community College (GCC) in May 2018, having developed his game in his three-year spell at the school’s basketball academy.

The 20-year-old moved over the summer and is taking part in the college’s pre-season as he works to adapt to a different system, both academically and within the game.

The Business Administration student said ‘it’s been tough’ to make the transition but feels he is settling well despite missing family and friends.

Sam Kesinro, former CU Academy player on US basketball scholarship. Picture: Contributed (5151691)
Sam Kesinro, former CU Academy player on US basketball scholarship. Picture: Contributed (5151691)

“But it’s been great coming to a new environment and meeting new friends,” he said.

“It’s been tough coming from County Upper to the US especially adapting to their education syllabus and basketball system.

“Living away from home in another country makes it difficult, especially not seeing family members but, as time has gone on, I have settled well.

“County Upper developed my game a lot and I became a sharp shooter able to see the court differently from other players as I have a high IQ for the game. I developed many of my skills at the academy that has been helping me at GCC.

“I’m hoping to gain a full scholarship to another university after my two years at GCC to gain my Bachelor’s degree. Then after that I hope to go pro.

“I think a lot of people in the UK make it big in sports, which is a good thing because it gives the country a good look and reputation.

“Hopefully I can add to that.”

Sam Kesinro signing a US Scholarship contract in May 2018. Picture: Contributed (5152269)
Sam Kesinro signing a US Scholarship contract in May 2018. Picture: Contributed (5152269)

Meanwhile, in Basketball England's National Leagues, County Upper Wolves U16 Girls climbed to the top of the U16 Girls South East Division as they maintained their 100 per cent win record on the road at Feltham Warriers.

The side won their fourth consecutive match, by a 62-39 result at the Springwest Academy in a bear-pit atmosphere as the home crowd banged drums and chanted.

At the halfway mark, the girls were already 42-21 in the lead with a strong defensive performance.

But the team struggled in the third quarter with both Grace Spooner and Lizzy Sanders fouling out to leave the home team able to win the period by nine points as County Upper’s lead shrunk to 18 points at 51-33.

Despite Alex Popova and Jenna Wright both picking up fouls in the fourth and Kayleigh Brown playing through an injury, County Upper did well to keep five players on the court and come through the quarter 11-6 to extend their lead and climb to the top of the league.

County Upper were led in scoring by Popova with 27 points and supported by Sanders and Georgie Tansley with 12 points and nine points respectively. They will host London Thunder Lewisham at County Upper School on Saturday (5.15pm).

The U14 Girls have also remained unbeaten in the U14 Girls Midlands East Division, with a top performance on Saturday at home to defeat Norfolk Iceni Demons 52-30.

They are at home to Ipswich on Saturday (3.15pm).

But the U16 Boys fell to a third loss in the East Division of the U16 Boys National League with a 37-59 loss at home to Harlow Hawks on Saturday. They are away to Thurrock Hornets on Sunday (3pm).

The U14 Boys also fell to defeat in the East Division, by a narrow 60-65 loss at home on Saturday to Brentwood Fire II.

They host Braintree Blue Devils on Saturday (1.15pm).

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