Young basketball star Ryan Ellison has been selected to represent the North West in an upcoming tournament.
The 14-year-old from Colne enjoyed a whirlwind year in the sport, having received the call up to the 16-man squad after spending the season with the Manchester Giants junior team.
The teenager helped helped his side to a third place finish out of the whole country, an achievement his mum, Helen, looks at with great pride.
“Ryan’s team finished third in the country,” she said. “I was amazingly proud and honoured to watch my own son play basketball.
“When I heard Ryan was being asked to join the North West basketball team I felt incredibly proud.
“In the next few weeks they’re deciding who will be the 12 in the team and who will be the four in reserve. Even if Ryan is selected as a reserve we will still think it’s a fantastic achievement.”
It’s certainly a fantastic feat for the Pendle athlete who has had to work incredibly hard to juggle school work and training over the course of the term.
“A few weeks ago Ryan had a couple of exams which meant he had to juggle his school work with his basketball,” said Helen. “But he did really well and put so much commitment into it and got really good results. For that I am extremely happy.
“Ryan has just worked so hard he attends training in Manchester five times a week, in the Amaechi Basketball Centre, and he has changed his diet and exercises everyday.
“In the National Junior Basketball League other players tend to be around two years older than Ryan so coming up against older boys and sticking to his regime is really helping him out for the better.”
Last season Ryan was in the starting five for the entirety of the campaign and Helen believes that Manchester Giants coach Richard Hill helped her son progress into the player he his now.
“I believe that the faith Richard showed in Ryan by keeping him in the team made him want to prove himself more, which then increased his confidence as the season went on.,” she said. “That’s why he was in the team consistently last season.”
Next season Ryan will be playing for Manchester Mystics under the management of Aurinas Verbukas, who is also the coach of the North West basketball team. Helen feels that the familiarity of that partnership will aid Ryan’s development.
“Ryan will be in the Manchester Mystics academy next year and “Ollie” is his coach. I feel this will help Ryan progress as he’ll have the same coach for both of his teams.”
As there wasn’t much inspiration for basketball around the streets of Colne, Helen has credited Ryan’s Park High School PE teacher Mr Orme as the man who paved the way.
Helen said: “My son’s PE teacher Mr Orme helped him find a love and passion for basketball by telling him he was incredibly skilled and encouraging him to join a team and to play the sport nationally.”
All in all Ryan has set an example to other teenagers, showing that with hard work and determination you can get to where you want to be and achieve anything. Ryan has come a long way in a short space of time, which is incredible for such a young man.