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Nottingham Academy

Under 16 Boys 2017/18 Review

A review of the Nottingham Academy Under 16 Boys Basketball Team 2017-2018

Under 16 Boys

The Under 16 Boys are one of the most committed groups among the entire school, and we’ve seen huge changes in these boys over the last two years both on and off the court.  The team has gone through some changes over the last two years, losing a number of valued members but gaining committed bodies in the process.  Much like the girls, the team faced a relatively easy run through the pool stages; in their first game they defeated Bromsgrove School 75 – 43 in a strong second half showing, while their second game against Shrewsbury School was a clearer cut affair as the boys took a lead early and held it for an 89 – 38 win.  Shrewsbury forfeited their second game, and in the return game against Bromsgrove they took a chance to show their improved defence, taking a 68 – 37 victory. 

These results, much like the girls, become more impressive when you realise the boys have only two Year 11’s playing consistently; Michael Harris and Paul Kwarteng.  Michael is the teams battery, pushing the pace with his exceptional speed while demonstrating his improved ability to score, while Paul’s knack for rebounding and finishing around the basket is now complimented by a solid skills and some excellent on ball defence.  Alongside these two, Lionel Avice and Paolo Emofonmwan contribute high intensity pressure on defence and complementary skills on offence; Lionel’s speed allows him to keep up with the fastest opposition players, while Paolo uses great natural movement and long limbs to force his man into mistakes.  Both have improved on offence this year; Lionel has become a solid spot up shooter from the 3 point line while Paolo has become a strong passer and is finally showing an ability to get to the basket and finish against defence.  Ismael Ahmad provides the team with an eclectic mixture of smart and can do attitude, allowing him to make and finish plays of his own initiative.  Ismael has gradually shown improvement working with his team mates and understanding their needs over the course of the season, which is a fantastic example of the social skills team sports can aid.  A mention should go to Mitz Stowern who joined half way through the year and has done an excellent job of integrating into the team with limited time and experience.  Favour Atekhashould also be mentioned in this regard even though he is yet to play any games for the team we hope to see him stepping up next year.  Finally Sami Bieeu and Pedro Ellery are the leaders of the team, as both are among the most committed players at the Academy.  Both of the boys never miss a session and are in school three mornings a week at 7.20am for training.  Sami has shown huge improvement this year and has been fantastic at both ends of the court, while Pedro displays an exceptionally high basketball IQ for a player his age.  Both should be commended for their commitment not only to their basketball, but to improving their Academics as well. 

The boys played two playoff games this year, beating Ayelsbury High School in a thrilling two point game in which the boys started slowly before taking control in the second half, with Pedro shutting down the visitor’s offence almost single handed in the 3rd quarter.  The boys progressed to the Final 8 in the country, where they met Trinity Academy in Manchester.  They faced strong opposition with an extremely talented young man leading the way for Trinity.  The boys started slowly, but fought back behind Ismael’s strong drives to the basket.  By the end of the third they had fought back to tie the game, leading into a thrilling finish.  Despite some excellent defence from a number of boys, most notably Paul, and some excellent shooting from Michael, the boys were unable to hold on and lost the game by only 2 points. 

While Micheal and Paul will move up an age group next year it will be exciting to see what this squad can do in the future as six of the boys will have another year at U’16s next year.