Under 17 Boys 2017/18 Review
A review of the Nottingham Academy Under 17 Boys Basketball Team 2017-2018
Under 17 Boys
The Under 17 boys have been an interesting group to work with this season. With 8 new players joining from outside the Academy and five of the U’16’s playing up, the group, much like the U’19 Men, had a lot to learn and very little time in which to prepare for their games, with only a few of the boys having played National League Club Basketball before. As such a good portion of the first half of the year was spent teaching this group how to play unselfish, team orientated basketball. In this capacity we’ve seen a massive jump from this group, as their basketball IQ’s have increased dramatically, as well as their confidence and, most importantly, their understanding of the commitment required at this level, both on and off the court.
The squads five U’16’s should be commended for their work ethics this season, as Michael Harris, Paul Kwarteng, Sami Bieeu, Ismael Ahmad and Pedro Ellery have been ready to play all season long. The squad’s strengths have been based around aggressive defence, and here Levi Plumb-Kelly has been the most noticeable member of the squad, working tirelessly on defence and also to improve his all-around game. David Onyinah has also shown aptitude on defence as well as bettering his offensive game throughout the season. If David can continue to show more aggression on court he should see another huge jump. Jackson Bisungu has made massive strides this season having never really played outside of school, showing a knack for putting the ball in the basket and really working hard to better understand the game. In a similar vein Ernestas Zemaitis has drastically improved, acting as one of the smarter players on the U’17 group and willing to sacrifice at both ends for the good of the team.
At the more experienced end of the squad, Joel Brown and Oliver Sporton have been keys at the guard positions, both of them improving on defence throughout the year and giving key contributions by doing the little things that matter. Joel’s outside shooting has been key for the team throughout the year, while Oliver’s passing ability and smarts have opened up opportunities for his teammates as both ends. The team’s main scoring threats have been Kris Kestenis and Tyreese Hudson. Kris has missed a chunk of the season due to injury, but both prior and since his return he has been a major contributor for the squad, having several big scoring games all the while showing off exceptional toughness. After joining in Year 11 and all the struggles such a late adjustment can bring, Kris is really doing well and actually speaking to his teammates this year! Tyreese has been the mainstay of the offence for this squad highlighted by a stand out 38 point game in the playoff round. However, while Tyreese’ scoring has been the most noticeable thing on the stat sheet, his progress as a leader has been the most important thing on the court, as his IQ has rocketed up in the last few months, along with his willingness to take responsibility for himself and his teammates. If Tyreese stays focused and works hard he will have opportunities moving forwards.
The U’17’s had relatively easy run in their pool games, losing their 3rd game of the season to perennial power and local rivals Charnwood College 80 – 57. The boys steam rolled the rest of their games however beating Rawlins Academy 117 – 42, Stamford School 105 – 5, and Ashfield School 110 – 27. The boys were given a buy in their first round of the playoffs as Aston Manor Academy was unable to make the fixture. In the second round they faced Charnwood again, and showed huge improvement against a somewhat injury depleted Charnwood side. The boys were in it right down to the wire, down two with 3 minutes to play when a tough call saw Tyreese foul out with 38 points. Charnwood’s experience helped them to hold on and the boys went down 88 – 82. Despite the loss this is a great sign of the team’s improvement and we look forward to seeing what happens with these boys over the next year.