Ipswich teenager Veron Eze signs for top Italian basketball academy Stella Azzura
PUBLISHED: 13:54 05 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:54 05 September 2017
Ipswich teenager Veron Eze has been hailed as a potential NBA basketball star in the making following his exciting move to Italy.
The 15-year-old caught the eye of scouts when playing a starring role for England’s U15 team during a tournament in Copenhagen this summer and has subsequently signed for top European academy Stella Azzura in Rome.
“He’s 6ft 5in tall, a supreme athlete, has incredible work ethic and is a very mature and grounded young man,” enthused coach Nick Drane, who has overseen Veron’s development at Ipswich Basketball Club and the Ipswich Basketball Academy.
“From a very early age it was clear what a talent he was. We always thought he would be the next big name to come out of the boys programme here.
“He’s now being touted as one of the best prospects in the whole of the continent and will be playing against the best in the Junior European League.
“Stella have been established since 1938 and produced a string of NBA players and they see Veron as a future American pro. There is no ceiling to how far he can go.
“He’s a special young man who has made this basketball club, academy, school and most importantly his family very, very proud.”
A former Whitehouse Primary School pupil whose talent was spotted via Ipswich Basketball Club’s ‘Playground to Pro’ programme at the age of nine, Veron has developed his talent at the Ipswich Basketball Academy based at Copleston High School.
He became the youngest player in Ipswich Basketball Club’s men’s team’s history when Drane handed him his debut at the age of 14 towards the back end of 2016, while recently represented Great Britain in the European U16 Championships in Bulgaria.
As a result of his switch, Ipswich Basketball Club will now develop an official link-up with Stella Azzura, with the academy women’s team invited for a training camp in October.
“This is the continuation of an incredible story for a town of this size,” enthused Drane. “We are competing with the big powerhouses everywhere.
“We’ve had five kids go to America on scholarships now and consistently produced junior internationals at multiple age groups, both male and female.
“To give that some context, we are the only club in the country this year to have one boy and girl in both the U16 and U18 GB squads.
“I truly believe our academy is second to none in the UK in terms of player pathway and development.”
Veron, who will learn to speak Italian and complete his GCSE’s via online learning, said: “The thought of leaving Ipswich before I finished Sixth Form had never even crossed my mind, but after visiting Rome and doing a lot of talking with my mum and coach we all decided this was something I just had to do.
“I can’t thank the people who have helped me enough. Everyone at Ipswich, the coaches, the volunteers, the teachers at Copleston and most of all my mum who supports me in every way.”