Ipswich to host Great Britain international

Nick Drane

Nick Drane

Ipswich’s reputation as a British basketball hotbed will intensify with the hosting of a prestigious international match next month.

Copleston High School, in the town, goes Dutch on July 2 as Great Britain’s Under-20s host their counterparts from Holland, in a warm-up game ahead of the Under-20 European Championsips in Bulgaria, later that month.

Basketball is on the rise in Ipswich with the town’s men’s team having just secured a second successive promotion to reach Division Two of the National League, and the Ipswich Basketball Academy going from strength to strength. Both are based at Copleston High.

Nick Drane, head coach of the academy and men’s team, said: “We expect the event to generate a lot of interest in the local community, between 200-300 people coming to watch, and would advise spectators to turn up early.

“There is one player, Devon van Oostrum – already a senior British international – who will be considered for the NBA draft in 2014.

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“Several other high-profile players will go on to earn senior international honours and potentially millions of pounds from the game.”

Ipswich offered to host the Great Britain team, who train at Braintree and Bristol, at short notice after plans to play the event at the latter fell through.

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“Two years ago when we hosted England Under-16s against Holland, we had six months to plan for the event,” said Drane.

“This time we only have two weeks but this will be the highest-profile basketball event to have ever been held in Suffolk. “It is a chance to see some phenomenal, world-class athletes. Holland are a very good team, although Great Britain should be and probably are ahead of them and the standard is getting better all the time.”

Tip-off is at 7pm and admission, is £5 for adults, £3 students and £2 for under-11s.

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