Trio return to County Upper as under-17s national champions

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS: County Upper Basketball Academys Under-17 winners: Jordan Boyd, Bradley Day and Aaron Sandhu-Nelson

County Upper Basketball Academy have another feather in their cap after a trio of their Under-19s ABL Central Conference players returned for the new season as national champions.

Bradley Day, Jordan Boyd and Aaron Sandhu-Nelson all helped the East of England team to claim the Regional Development Tournament (RDT) Under-17s title in Manchester earlier this month.

It is thought to be one of only a few times the east region has won the prestigious title in the competition’s history — and the first time in a decade that the Bury St Edmunds-based academy has had national champions at under-17 level in its squad.

“It is a good reflection on us, as far as kids coming through go,” said head coach Darren Johnson.

“It is great on the boys’ behalf and they have put a lot of effort in.

“Jordan and Aaron had not been called up as county players before they came to us, so I guess the proof is in the pudding with what we are doing here.”

He added: “It is testament to their dedication, aspiration and ambition that they have become national champions.”

The County Upper Basketball Academy has enjoyed great success in its first decade, with three players, namely Elliot De Freitas (Italy), Grant Bangs (Iceland) and Blayne Freckleton (BBL London) having all gone professional, while 32 players have gone on to play in America.

Title winners’ Day, Boyd and Sandhu-Nelson were joined in the East of England side by County Upper student and Ipswich club player Ethan Price, meaning County Upper made up a third of the team.

The side beat West Midlands in the final to lift the title.

All three academy players are set to go on the regular tour to America this season and will get the under-19’s season up-and-running either next Wednesday or the following one in the ABL Central Conference.

n An injury-hit County Upper Under-16s team went down to an opening day defeat at a strong Chelmsford Lions side.

Although County were up by three points at half-time, they went off the boil and allowed the hosts to take control and CU came away on the wrong end of a 77-52 scoreline.

Josh Hales was County’s highest scorer with 14 points, and was well supported by Luca Beadle and Brandon Marshall with 12 and eight points, respectively.

The side will be looking to bounce at Southend Scorpions tomorrow.

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