Henley College student Luke Nelson has been named England Basketball U18 Player of the Year, rounding off a highly successful year. 2012 saw him named England U16 player of the year, go on to represent his country at this summer’s European Championships and earn a call up to the England U18 squad.
Perhaps most importantly, Nelson recently signed a national letter of intent with the UC Irvine Anteaters men’s basketball team. Head coach Russell Turner expressed his delight at securing Nelson, describing him as one of the most proven players he has ever signed.
These achievements strongly reflect the growing success of the partnership between The Henley College and the Reading Rockets, who play in basketball’s Division 1.
Luke said: ‘The Henley College have been really supportive of me. The basketball academy and my coach, JP, have really helped me to develop my skills.
Winning the England U18 player of the year award, and the U16 award last year has really boosted my confidence and it’s a great honour. Next year I am going to a Division 1 college in America on a full scholarship which I’m also really proud of. I am really looking forward to my time there!’
The Reading Rockets basketball academy, part of the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) programme, is based at the College and provides students with the opportunity to combine top quality basketball training and competition with their academic studies.
Jonathan Campbell, Henley Academy Head Coach at the Reading Rockets Basketball Club, said: ‘We are all very proud of Luke’s achievements with us which has resulted in him signing for UC Irvine in NCAA Division 1. In his short time with us Luke has dramatically improved his skill and level of play. His hard work as a student athlete has meant he has played a major role in the Reading Rockets Men’s Division 1 success. I’m sure Luke has an even brighter future ahead of him with his upcoming appearances for England U18 in the Division A European Championship and his future move to the States. Needless to say we will all be keeping an eye on this young man!’
College Principal, Tom Espley, said: “I am delighted with this news. Luke is an outstanding player and student who is a credit to the College.”