Ipswich Basketball Club duo Luke Mascall-Wright and Sam Newman sign for American colleges

Luke Mascall-Wright, left, Ipswich head coach Nick Drane and Sam Newman, right, sign for US colleges

Luke Mascall-Wright, left, Ipswich head coach Nick Drane and Sam Newman, right, sign for US colleges - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Basketball duo Luke Mascall-Wright and Sam Newman have become the latest players from the Copleston-based academy to be recruited to play college basketball in America.

Luke Mascall-Wright in action for Ipswich

Luke Mascall-Wright in action for Ipswich - Credit: Archant

The teenage duo, from Ipswich, have come through the ranks together in ten years at the club under head coach and mentor Nick Drane.

The high-flying Mascall-Wright is heading off to Iowa to attend North Iowa Area Community College, where he has received a full scholarship.

He is likely to spend a year at NIACC before heading to another college in the NCAA, either at Division One or the Division Two level.

Mascall-Wright received interest from a number of programmes, but the GB U20 International made his choice after being heavily recruited all season by NIACC.

Sam Newman was superb against Lancashire

Sam Newman was superb against Lancashire - Credit: Archant

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The 19-year-old enjoyed another strong season with the senior men’s side averaging 12 points, five rebounds and five assists in NBL Division Two while establishing himself as one of the very best all round players in the U19 EABL (Elite Academy Basketball League) where he has been ranked third in the country in scoring, seventh in rebounding, third in assists and fourth in three-point percentage.

He said: “Its important to go to the right situation and not just the first place that shows an interest. Coach Kyle Cooper from NIACC has been in regular contact all season, I visited in January and the place instantly felt right”.

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Newman meanwhile, who exploded onto the national scene this season as one of the best players on Ipswich’s senior squad, has signed a full scholarship with Cal State University in Los Angeles.

He was the second leading scorer for the Ipswich Men this season with 15 points per game while also contributing four rebounds and four assists and leading the division in steals.

He led all of Division Two in three-pointers made, as he did in the EABL. Sam also ranked first in the U19 competition in scoring and steals while finishing in eight place in assists.

He said: “I’ve had a lot of interest this year and it’s been a great experience. I chose Cal State because Coach Horton really sold the programme to me. I then went on a visit and it was game over after that. It felt like home straight away”.

Both players have enjoyed a decorated career with Ipswich, which includes the club’s only national title in over 20 years, when the pair were both key players in the Ipswich side which won the national u13 title in 2009.

They again appeared together in the u14 final fours for Ipswich in 2010 and have been part of the academy team that made back-to-back appearance’s in the EABL Final Fours in 2012 and 2013.

Mascall-Wright is the only remaining player from the clubs first ever men’s team, when he appeared on the bench in Division Four back in 2011. Between them they have played for Coach Drane in nearly 500 games, winning just shy of 400 of them.

Drane said: “Sam and Luke have been with me personally since they were eight or nine years old. Both attended my centre of excellence way before they were playing for the club.

“I’ve coached them right the way through their careers with Ipswich and they have been the two leading players in the club’s most successful generation of players.

“I will miss them, but I’m glad they are going – it means the pathway we have provided for young talented kids from Ipswich works.”

He added: “It’s been a journey. They are the last of a dying breed – the club has moved on and these days, because I run the men’s programme, I run the centre of excellence and then hand the kids over to the club’s coaches.

“Sam and Luke are the last of the kids that I can lay claim to have coached for their entire career.

“I’ve loved every minute of it, they’ve been a big part of the teams I’ve coached and a big part of my life, I have spent more time with them than my own family over the past eight years. It’s been a real joy.”

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