Ipswich and Great Britain star Ella Pearson has committed to Newberry College, in the ‘South Atlantic Conference’ of NCAA Division Two. The class of 2021 athletic wing was recruited by several schools, with Newberry securing the talented Pearson ahead of some well-respected programmes.
Newberry College finished with a 16-12 record in the shortened 2019/2020. The 5’10 wing has represented Great Britain at U16 level, and was expected to be part of the GB U18’s team for the FIBA European Championships in the summer of 2020 before Covid. Her glittering club career includes multiple trips to final fours, National Cup Wins at U16, U18 and Senior Level, as well as playing a huge part in the WNBL Division One Championship last season.
Ella is currently in her final year at Ipswich Basketball Academy (IBA) based at Copleston High School & Sixth Form, one of the leading Academies as part of the England Development Programme (EDP). During her time with the Academy so far, she has been named to the All WEABL South Conference Second Team (2019) and First Team (2020). Ella averaged 19.1 points and 9.8 rebounds per game last season in what would prove to be a breakout year, stepping up in role to lead the team in scoring with injuries to key teammates in the first half of the year.
The 18-year-old had this to say about her commitment to Newberry College “I am excited to announce that I have verbally committed to Newberry College and will be joining them in September 2021. The recruitment process has been slightly different due to COVID 19. This has meant that I have been unable to visit the college but I had the opportunity to experience a virtual tour. I have also formed good relationships with both Coach Tincher and Coach Cole, which has helped me come to my decision. In addition, I have been able to speak to my fellow teammate Coco Leung who has had a positive experience going through the Newberry program which has been reassuring for both me and my parents. I feel like this the right choice for me because their style of basketball mirrors my style of play which is a fast tempo with a strong man to man defence. Also the education is of a good standard and they have the perfect course for me there. I am looking forward to meeting Coach Tincher and Coach Cole in person and get on court with rest of the team.
Ella had a break-out season in 2019/20 averaging close to 20 points and 10 rebounds (Photo: Marvelous Visuals)
"I would like to especially thank Nick who has been there from the start of my basketball career and has helped me to grow into the player and person I am today," Ella added. "Without him I wouldn’t have been able to achieve nearly as much as I have done over the years. Also thank you to my teammates, who have pushed me to do better and to improve myself in every session. When you surround yourself with great players and friends you quickly learn to compete and better yourself all the time. I am looking forward to my last year with Ipswich and hopefully leave with a few more championships!"
"Lastly, I'd like to reserve my biggest thank you for my parents for taking the time to help me pursue my basketball career. They have supported me through the years by driving me back and forth to Ipswich on a regular basis and supporting me at games no matter how big or small the game was. It wouldn’t have been at all possible if it wasn’t for them. I am truly grateful for everyone who has helped and supported me across my basketball journey. I can’t wait to carry my development on at Newberry College.“
Ipswich Basketball Club and Academy Head Coach Head Coach Nick Drane added: “This is incredible news. Ella has been a wonderful ambassador for this club and academy for many years and she really deserves this opportunity. She works so hard, and has been so committed to her improvement – we will really miss her in Ipswich. Newberry College and Coach Tincher are getting a great addition to their programme”.
Ella leaves Ipswich in 2021 as a winner of National Cups at U16, U18 and Senior level. (Photo: Nick Winter)
Ella is playing her final season in the UK with Copleston in the WEABL in the 2020/21, when the academy competitions eventually start. And she has played a key role in the strong start Ipswich have made to the defence of their WNBL Division One title. Ella will be looking to finish this chapter of her playing career with a flourish, before she moves stateside to play and begin her degree.
Everyone at Ipswich Basketball is incredibly proud of what Ella has achieved and would like to wish her luck with the rest of this season and in the years to come at Newberry College.