Luke sets his sights high

FOR­MER NORTON KNATCH­BULL SCHOOL PUPIL HOPES ONE DAY TO MAKE A NAME FOR HIM­SELF IN THE NBA

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - All The Week’s Action... - By James Sloan

Luke Busum­bru is dream­ing of mak­ing it to the NBA and be­lieves the op­por­tu­nity he has al­ready seized in Amer­ica has given him a bet­ter chance of be­com­ing a pro.

The for­mer Norton Knatch­bull School pupil is spend­ing this aca­demic year at Montverde High School in Florida, where he be­came the first Brit to win a bas­ket­ball schol­ar­ship.

Speak­ing on his first re­turn to the UK since start­ing school across the At­lantic, Busum­bru, 16, re­vealed he is rel­ish­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence he is gain­ing:

He said: “It’s a chal­lenge. Ev­ery­one out there is big­ger, stronger, quicker and the bas­ket­ball is a lot quicker and more tech­ni­cal but I’m cop­ing and al­ways try­ing to im­prove.

“The stan­dard is a lot bet­ter. I have great play­ers as team-mates, ev­ery­one is com­pet­ing to be as good as they can and to get more play­ing time, so that pushes us to be bet­ter play­ers and bet­ter in­di­vid­u­als.

“Even the teams we’ve faced, they’ve been a lot tougher, a lot more phys­i­cal than teams in Eng­land.

“It’s im­prov­ing me as a player and get­ting me ready for the fu­ture.”

It is clear that Busum­bru is a driven young­ster who knows what he wants to achieve.

The higher stan­dard of bas­ket­ball played at US high schools could be a vi­tal fac­tor in de­cid­ing his fu­ture.

And the Amer­i­cans have a struc­tured path­way to be­com­ing a pro­fes­sional ath­lete.

From high school, po­ten­tial bas­ket­ball stars move on to col­lege, where they can show­case their tal­ent in the hope of be­ing se­lected in the NBA draft, which is just what the Montverde pupil is striv­ing to­wards.

He said: “Ev­ery bas­ket­ball player wants to be in the NBA and you’ve got to work hard for it.

“I want to make it to the high­est level pos­si­ble and that’s NBA – I’ll aim for that and noth­ing less.

‘It’s im­prov­ing me as a player and get­ting me ready

for the fu­ture’

“I’d like to play in the Brazil Olympics. There’s a lot of tal­ent up and com­ing for Great Bri­tain but I’m sure that by that time, hav­ing played in Amer­ica for two or three years, I’ll be able to get on that GB team.

“I’m play­ing for the No.1 team in the world at high school level, so go­ing up against that type of com­pe­ti­tion ev­ery day in prac­tice and play­ing against the best teams try­ing to beat us, it al­ways helps.”

The Christ­mas break has given Busum­bru the op­por­tu­nity to catch up with his friends and fam­ily and also meet up with his for­mer team­mates, who he played with un­der coach Andy Sun­der­land – who was in­te­gral to help­ing Luke achieve his move to Amer­ica.

Busum­bru scores slam dunks and lay-ups for fun, util­is­ing his 6”2 frame and large leap.

But now he has set his sights even higher and he is cer­tainly thriv­ing in the per­fect en­vi­ron­ment to help his dreams come true.

RIO HOPES: Luke Busum­bru

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