This year The Elite Academy welcomed Luke Rankin and Theo Grant, two young and hungry players from the West Midlands in England. The Elite Academy has a strong connection with the two largest cities in England; Birmingham and London. Over the past 2 years 4 players have attended from each city.
The academy has given International players much more than just the opportunity to chase their dreams of playing basketball in the USA.
"The coaches here care about individual development both on and off the court" says Luke.
"We train a lot harder than in England and the coaches expect more from us everyday" added Theo.
Coach Ant Oxley is passionate about developing British players. He grew up playing in the junior and mens national league programs in Sheffield and represented England from the age of 13. When he arrived in the USA at 18 he realized how far behind he was from his American teammates.
"The speed and physicality of the game was on a different level", says Coach Oxley.
"Before I left I was playing in EBL Division 1 and training with the BBL team. What I didn't realize was on those teams there are two or three Americans per team and in college there are five athletic and physical American players on every team".
It took Coach Ant his whole freshman year to adjust. The International Elite Academy hired him to help them create a program that would bridge the gap for International players.
"The coaches don't only push us to get better, but with the amount of time they spend with us in the gym, you can tell they care about our future. In just two months I have improved every aspect of my game, and more importantly understand my role and how I need to develop to conrtibute to a college team" says Luke.
The goal is to help players not only get college scholarships, but ensure they end up in the right place, are ready for college and have the ability to contribute right away.
"The academy program is on another level, the instensity everyday in practice is incredible. We have learned how to adapt mentally to training 5 or 6 hours per day. The coaches have created an environment where everyone comes to work and push each other to get better" says Theo.
Coach Jermaine Barnes has played on every level from NCAA D1 to the NBA and he exemplifies what can be achieved with hard work and dedication.
"International Players have to adapt to the U.S game and it is not an easy transition. Just coming to the academy will not get you a college scholarship. Luke and Theo have great attitides and we are proud of how they have developed so far. If they continue to work as hard as they can they will be successful" says Barnes
The International Elite Academy only accepts 8 players per year in order to focus on player development. They are now accepting applications for:
- 2016 Summer Experience (June 2016)
- 6 Month College Prep Program (Dec 2016 - May 2017)
If you think you have what it takes, apply today on the admissions page.