First to secure scholarship to USA

Academy Student is first to secure USA College Scholarship

Barking Abbey School student Joe Ikhinmwin is the first Barking Abbey Academy player to gain a scholarship to play basketball in the United States.

The 19-year-old Great Britain junior international will start at Seminole State College in Oklahoma where he will spend a maximum of two years before hopefully progressing to an NCAA University.

Seminole State is a junior college which students attend to gain the necessary grades to progress to a university-level college, They play in the Bi-State Conference and were crowned the Region Two champions last year, beating JUCO powerhouse Redlands College in the championship game to advance to the National Championships. They had a 27-10 record last year and after winning three games at the National Tournament came fifth in the United States Junior College Championships. Junior colleges regularly produce players who go on to play in the NBA, with current stars Rafer Alston, Dee Brown, Mitch Richmond and Gerald Wilkins all having come through that system.

As well as playing in the Barking Abbey team which reached the National Schools Cup final last season, the 6' 6" forward also played for London Leopards in the EBL Division One where he had an impressive debut in the second tier of English basketball ranking fourth in the league in field goal percentage. He proved to be a major part of the Leopards team which finished fourth in the league, and twice led the Big Cats' scoring, draining 17 points in a club-record 102-29 victory against Wellingborough Phoenix and scoring 28 in an emphatic 103-61 win at Coventry Crusaders.

Barking Abbey's assistant coach Lloyd Gardner, who was a team-mate of Ikhinmwin at Leopards, predicts a bright future for him:

"Joe's has a tremendous work ethic, and that's why he has developed as much as he has over the last two seasons. If he can maintain that desire to learn he's got a great future ahead of him."

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