Updated: Dec 2, 2022
Welcome to our first alumni catch up of the season, now that the NCAA season is well underway!
First off, a huge congratulations to Susannah Rafiu for her recent debut for Columba University in NCAA Division 1. Susie, who had missed her final months in Ipswich through injury, has made three appearances at the time of writing, with a standout 9 points on 4/5 shooting in just 11 minutes against Ark-Pine Bluff in the opening round of a Miami Thanksgiving tournament, which Columbia eventually won thanks to a win over Miami as part of a 5-2 start to the season.
Esther Little has also made a number of appearances off the bench for Gonzaga University so far this month, and in typical Esther Little style has managed to fill up the stat sheet without taking any shots! Exemplified by 3 rebounds and 2 blocks in just 5 minutes off the bench against Long Beach State in the season opener. The Zags have opened the season 5-1.
On the Men’s side, Senior Guard Caleb Fuller has settled into his new surroundings at Montana State well, averaging 5.3 points and 4.5 rebounds at the time of writing, capped off by a 13 point, 10 rebound, 3 assist effort against North Dakota on the 20th November. Overall, though, it has been a tough start for the Bobcats, who were favoured to finish high in their conference this season, who have laboured to a 3-5 start.
400 miles away (which is actually pretty close in American geography), and in the same Big Sky Conference, Sophomore Ethan Price, reigning Big Sky Rookie of the Year, has also had a rough start to the new season, starting off 2-5. Ethan himself, though, has started much in the way he finished last season, with averages of 7.9 points and 5.4 rebounds a game. Ethan is once again shooting the ball well, with a 38.9 3 point percentage after hitting 40.7% in his freshman year, and a season high of 15 points so far against Stony Brook on the 25th November.
Ethan’s sister Maya Price has also started her season with Eckerd College well, with a standout 15 points 6 rebounds performance against Bentley on the 26th November. Eckerd are 5-1 on the season so far in Maya’s Senior season.
Staying in Florida, Ashleigh Pink’s Barry University have got off to a 2-4 start. Ashleigh, who was in attendance while Ethan’s Eastern Washington team played in Florida this week, is averaging 11.2 points and 5 rebounds so far this year, with her points average thus far representing a career high in her five years at Barry.
Another former IBA and Senior Women's player out in the States is Newberry College's Ella Pearson. Ella, in her Sophomore year in the US, is averaging a little over 22 minutes a game for her side, who have started 3-4 on the season so far, with 3-0 home and 0-3 away splits so far. Ella has made the step up from the bench to be part of the South Carolina team's starting lineup on 6 occasions out of 7 so far!
In France, the seasons are underway for Josh Apple and Harriet Welham, with Harriet enjoying her best game of the season for Besancon against SLUC Nancy, with her 34 point, 16 rebound, 4 steal effort being very typically Harriet Welham, leading her side to an 84-68 win. Her side is 4-5 in the early stages of the season.
Back on home soil, Cameron Taylor-Willis’ start to her Essex Rebels and WBBL career has started well, with the Essex side on a three-game winning streak at the time of writing. The side sit at 3-3 on the season after starting the year with three defeats. Cameron has averaged just over 10 minutes a game so far as she settles into her new team.
Also in Essex, Ipswich old boys Rory and Ben Winter, Jake Eynon, Dylan Johns and Lee Linton-Hodges have had a 4-4 start to their new season in NBL Division One, which will surely be seen as a positive having narrowly avoided relegation last season. Most recently, all five featured as Essex ground out a big win against Solent Kestrels as a big three pointer from Jake Eynon with 33 seconds to go gave the Rebels a 3 point lead they were able to hold on to. Rory top scored for the side with 20 points on 7-8 shooting and Lee had 16 point snared 8 rebounds, with all five players playing at least 18 minutes. We’d love to know if there are any “all Ipswich” lineup +/- for the season!
Also in NBL Division One is NBL D1 veteran Sam Newman plying his trade with Hemel Storm, who have started the season off 7-0 in no small part down to the play of the sharpshooting guard. Also unbeaten is Veron Eze of Worthing Thunder, who faced off against Nottingham Hood’s Moyo Adekeye recently, with Veron’s unbeaten Worthing side coming out 115-91 winners. Moyo grabbed a couple of points and assists each in 14 minutes off the bench but Veron’s 25 point, 5 rebound effort earned his side the win.
We'll check back in with some of our former players ahead of the Christmas break!