Liam – Head Boy at E-ACT Crest Academy in Neasden, London has secured a full scholarship to play basketball in the US at Western Texas College. He has been playing basketball since Year 6 and has come a long way.
Liam thanks his teachers, coaches and other basketball players for his continued success and says that they are responsible for where he is today.
We recently caught up with Liam to hear about his journey and his exciting future ahead! Read our interview below:
When do you start and what does the scholarship involve?
My first day at Western Texas College is 21 August 2023, but I will arrive on 14 August to settle in and get to know my teammates and coaches. The scholarship will cover all my academic and athletic costs including textbooks and equipment for basketball.
When did you first get into basketball?
I first became interested in basketball in Year 6 as a hobby. I first met Coach Kelson (E-ACT Crest Academy) in Year 7, Coach Daniel (London Elite), and then Coach Afiz (Way2Work), and that’s when I began to take it more seriously and get more passionate about it.
Was there anything or anyone in particular that inspired you?
I am inspired by where this sport can take me and have developed a true passion for it. The life lessons it continues to teach me are like no other. Being surrounded by dedicated coaches like Coach Kelson and Coach Afiz (Way2work) and constantly being in a competitive environment inspires me to be better than I was yesterday.
How has E-ACT Crest Academy supported you with your basketball journey? Are there any teachers that had an impact on you?
E-ACT Crest Academy, from the regional director Mr. Cox and his secretary Miss. George to the entire basketball coaching team, including Coach Kelson, Coach Afiz, and Coach Rocky, certainly helped and supported me more than I could have ever imagined.
The coaching staff at the academy is responsible for my current situation, and I am grateful to have been awarded this scholarship in recognition of the dedication they have shown behind closed doors. Coach Kelson and Coach Afiz (Way2work) have invested a lot of time and energy into improving my basketball abilities and growing me from a local basketball player to being an England player, being invited to Great Britain camps, being awarded finals MVP (Most Valuable Player) along with EYBL (European Youth Basketball League) MVP, being nominated as a Hoopsfix all-star (HASC23) and much more.
I joined this team to meet other basketball players, but I am leaving saying goodbye to lifelong friends and brothers. For everything these last two years, I must thank my teammates. Although I am grateful for this opportunity in America, none of this would have been possible without my team and the way we all support one another both on and off the court.
Do you plan to play basketball professionally in the US?
I believe all basketball players who love this sport as much as I do plan to play professionally in America. However, the simple idea of getting paid to play a sport that brings a smile to my face is a blessing in itself; it does not have to be in the US. This a long-term goal, and I am focused on my current chapter and being the best version of myself in the present moment.
What are the key lessons that you have learnt to be successful both on and the court?
Basketball and my day-to-day life go hand in hand for me, and it has taught me that you must be excellent in all you do from minor things to major things as there are no short cuts in life or basketball. We all have our own unique battles and journeys, and basketball has taught me that consistency and excellence are the most important keys to life and being successful. It is an everlasting chase where you must be the best version of you to turn your aspirations into reality, whether that be winning a game on the court or getting the grades you need in school.
How did your time as Head Boy develop your leadership skills?
I have always thought of myself as a good leader, but because the Head Boy position was outside of my comfort zone, I was never really interested in it. Thankfully, Miss Marshall forced me out of my comfort zone, and I gradually started to feel comfortable in tasks such as public speaking, interacting with other people and being a trusted leader. These skills also helped when I had to travel and communicate with new teammates and coaches on and off the court.
Any advice for students who may want to follow a similar path?
I think the most important advice I can give to anybody, not just basketball players, is that everyone has their own way to work, which is a quote from Coach Afiz (Way2Work). We are all on our unique journey and you must focus on growing yourself. Playing this sport is easier said than done, and while some things may seem impossible, they are achievable. Along with setbacks, failure, and doubt, this journey includes success, excitement, and feeling proud. All is achievable with consistency and excellence, but everyone’s journey is different. You just have to focus on being the best version of yourself and turn your aspirations in life into reality.
We’d like to wish Liam the best of luck in his new venture in the US! We can’t wait to see how his basketball career develops and where he will be in the next few years.