A new basketball academy has been launched at Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton by Luol Deng.
The DENG Academy is designed for young people to combine their studies with intensive training in the game. Students will have up to twenty hours of intensive basketball training per week.
Luol Deng, who grew up in Brixton and currently plays for the Miami Heat in America, believes the academy will give young people a chance to get involved in the sport. It aims to produce the next generation of players to play for local teams and compete at national and international level.
“Basketball is a sport that does not take in one or two people. It helps a lot of children,” said Deng. “I really believe there is a lot of talent but there are very few opportunities for young people interested in Basketball.”
“This academy is similar to the system they have in the US. They can play basketball and attend school. I always tell young people that they won’t be able to play sport forever and they need a good education. Those attending the academy will be able to do that.”
The academy is currently open to students in years 7-9 but will include pupils up to the age of 16 by the end of next year.
Cial, aged 13, who is on the scheme said: “Basketball makes me who I am. I work hard in training and then go and work hard on my studies too.”