HOLBROOK: Meet the 13-year-old basketball ace who towers above his class-mates - and who is already an England under-15 international
HOLBROOK: He’s the gigantic 13-year-old that just keeps on growing.
Measuring a 6ft 6ins, the colossal youngster from Harkstead is smashing records as he goes.
Earlier this month Holbrook High pupil Freddie Ratcliff became the youngest ever basketball player to star for England.
Remarkably the level-headed giant only took up the sport 18 months ago.
But after being spotted by Ipswich Basketball Academy he quickly progressed to playing for an eastern region side, where he was spotted by England scouts.
It culminated in the talented youngster making his debut for the England Under-15 side against Wales on July 3, while still aged 12.
His mum, Louise Ratcliff, who is 6ft 2in tall, said: “I’m immensely proud of him, I couldn’t quite believe it coming back from Wales.
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“But he’s very cool and he does not get stressed or anything. He’s very grown-up and level-headed and he tries not to go on about his basketball success to his friends.”
But despite being so tall, Freddie, who recently broke a high jump record at his school, remains in proportion, his inside leg is 34in while his shoe size is 11.
His dad, Jonathan, is also tall at 6ft 2in, while his younger brother Charlie, 11, a pupil at Chelmondiston Primary School, is 5ft 8in.
His mum, asked what it was like looking after such a tall boy, said: “It’s not so much the clothes, it’s the food.
“He’s never full, he has hollow legs!
“If I give him an enormous roast dinner, 20 minutes later he’ll sidle up to me and ask if there are any leftovers.”
Freddie, who only turned 13 on Friday, said: “I love being tall, I couldn’t imagine being small. I don’t know why, it’s just being different to other people and seeing things they cannot see.
“Being tall does help at basketball but even so it’s quite hard to get all the moves right.
“It was very daunting [playing for England] because I was two years younger than everyone else but the people were very nice and it was fun.
“I want to get into the senior England team and going to America would be nice.”
Tris Woods, his PE teacher at Holbrook High, said: “I think he’ll do well, his height is a massive advantage but it’s obviously how well he keeps developing in terms of how other lads catch up with him.
“Hopefully he will progress to a good standard and if he’s made England now there’s no reason why he could not pursue it more.”