Ipswich Basketball Academy is looking forward to returning to action in the coming weeks as part of the EABL and WEABL Summer Showcase.
The top Under-19 England Development Programmes in the country will return to competitive action after Basketball England announced the event, the first competitive action since the COVID-19 pandemic brought an end to the 2019-20 season prematurely and cancelled the 2020-21 season entirely.
(Image: Basketball England / EABL / WEABL)
The new competition is designed to provide access to high-quality competition for young elite players in order to enhance their development and progression opportunities, and will take place over seven weeks, featuring 12 Women’s and 15 Men’s Elite Academy Basketball League teams, including Copleston
The Showcase won’t crown an overall team winner upon completion, instead aiming to complete as many games as possible in a safe and responsible environment, given the current COVID climate. And with several Copleston players still heavily involved in National League action with Ipswich, or having already completed the recruitment process - IBA will be using this opportunity to give some experience to players who have not played an organised game of basketball for well over a year.
Ipswich Basketball Academy Head Coach, Nick Drane, says: ‘’It is an exciting opportunity for the players that have not been playing in WNBL this season. Being in a basketball academy without basketball fixtures has been awful for the players."
Having already completed their recruitment, and as active players at the Division One level, the likes of Ethan Price, Esther Little, Cameron Taylor-Willis and Ella Pearson will not be suiting up for Copleston in a showcase series of games with the focus very much on participation as opposed to crowing a National Champion. Last time the academy leagues were in their traditional competition format, the U19 men lost in the final four to Barking Abbey and the women were set to play CoLA in the WEABL Final before the pandemic struck 15 months ago.
The first round of games start today with the boys hosting Canterbury and the girls taking on Itchen.