A trio of teenagers from Ipswich Basketball Academy have landed exciting scholarships at top American universities.

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Dylan Johns was playing rugby at St Joseph’s College just four years ago, but his height – now 7ft tall at the age of 19 – saw him convert to basketball and he has never looked back.

In September, he will join Texas A&M University, the Division One college who play their games in a 16,000 stadium and provided the platform for DeAndre Jordan to become an NBA superstar for the LA Clippers.

Ben Mead, a former Debenham High School pupil from the Suffolk village of Stonham Aspal, will join Division Two powerhouse Franklin Pierce University in New England.

The 17-year-old, 6ft 7ins youngster is already closing in on 80 caps for England and Great Britain at junior level, having already captained his country at three European Championships.

Jake Eynon may not have the same height as the other two at 6ft, but the 19-year-old’s exceptional shooting ability has seen him offered a place at Jacksonville Junior College, Texas.

All three started out as junior players at Ipswich Basketball Club and were part of the men’s side that secured promotion to Division Two this season as the small Suffolk town continues to cement its unlikely status as a leading light in the sport.

Nick Drane, director of the Ipswich Basketball Academy at Copleston School, said: “Dylan is remarkably athletic and co-ordinated for someone of his size and is joining a college that most aspiring players can only dream of. It’s a huge programme and has developed several NBA players.

“Ben also had offers from Division One colleges but I think he’s made the right decision for his long-term development, while Jake is a great example to average height and build players that they can make it in basketball with a combination of natural talent and hard work.”

He added: “I think it’s fair to say that Ipswich must now be established as one of the top two or three places in the country for basketball.

“We’ve got boys and girls in international squads at every age group, our men’s side have just been promoted to Division Two and now we’ve got three academy players heading to some of the most respected universities in the United States.

“It’s really quite phenomenal that a little town like ours has been able to build such a programme.”

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