A former Hartlepool Sixth Form student has achieved his dream of playing basketball in the USA after securing a prestigious scholarship.
Killian Bousfield will head to the States where he will study Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at Doane University in Nebraska and represent the Doane Tigers in the NAIA Division 1 intercollegiate league.
The 18-year-old power forward gained national recognition while playing for the sixth form’s Basketball Academy and developed into one of the top players in the Academy Basketball League (ABA).
Killian said: “I’m really looking forward to the new experiences, living in a different country and competing at a higher level. It’s always been a dream for me, moving to the States and see what I can do in basketball. Thanks to Hartlepool Sixth Form I have that opportunity.
“Doane is a small college in a rural area, but for me to get an academic scholarship there with the grade boundaries being so high is incredible and I can’t thank my teachers enough for their help.”
The youngster, who travelled a 60–mile round trip every day on public transport from his home in Thirsk, achieved a D*D*D* in Sport and Exercise Sciences and benefitted greatly from the academy’s blending of full-time study with elite coaching and competitive matches.
“One of the main reasons I chose Hartlepool Sixth Form is because it offered at BTEC in Sports and Exercise Science,” Killian added. “I’ve loved sport since an early age and it’s always something I’ve been interested in.
“A lot of colleges where I lived didn’t really offer that, and I didn’t think A-Levels would fit with me. Also, there are not many colleges that offer basketball, so when I heard Hartlepool had an academy that was a big draw.“
While playing for the sixth form’s Basketball Academy in the ABL and Durham Wildcats in the U18 National Basketball League, Killian was invited to train with Durham University and has spent the past year with Derby Trailblazers, an NBL Division 1 side.
Killian said: “The ABL was definitely a step up from what I was used to playing. When we first came into the league we struggled and lost some games in the first half of the season. It pushed us, and me especially. Playing with Durham Wildcats in the NBL Premiership, it was more high-level games, so it really helped me improve.
“Playing ball with Derby Trailblazers was a massive step up as a lot of the players have played basketball overseas. Like with Durham University, I was able to speak to them about their education journey and basketball pathway which really helped.
“Going to America was in the back of my mind but it didn’t become a reality until I came to Hartlepool Sixth Form.“
Hartlepool Sixth Form’s sports academies combine full-time study with an elite training programme in basketball, football, netball and rugby, offering students access to high quality teaching and coaching within state-of-the-art facilities.
Basketball Academy coach, Mark Elderkin, said: “We’re absolutely delighted for Killian. One thing we’re proud of at Hartlepool Sixth Form is the doors we open up for our students and consider what is best for them regarding their development and opportunities.
“Playing in the ABL and NBL pushed Killian out of his comfort zone and showed him what a higher level looked like. The more comfortable he became, the more his confidence grew, and he started to realise there was a world of basketball available to him after Hartlepool.
“He was a pleasure to work with. From day one he has put a lot of work in on the court, in the gym and in his lessons. His work ethic and attitude are what have led to him gaining this opportunity. We are really excited to see what he does in the US.”
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