International basketball heading to St Albans and Oaklands College

Essex Leopards v Team USA Select. Picture: PAUL PHILLIPS

Essex Leopards v Team USA Select. Picture: PAUL PHILLIPS - Credit: Archant

Oaklands College is set to host top men’s basketball when Levett Essex Leopards takes on the American touring side Ballers Heaven.

Leopards and Oakland Wolves are working in partnership this season, with the college’s elite players getting the chance to play in the Big Cats’ National League Division One side.

Oaklands Performance coach Lee Ryan said: “The new partnership between our programs starts with a bang as we host this exciting pre-season contest. Oaklands academy player Dominic Scott-Robinson has already suited up for Essex and we look forward to supporting the Leopards with more players throughout the season. This game is also a great opportunity for our students and fans to see some high flying basketball right on their doorstep.”

The Big Cats are one of the country’s leading clubs having won the National Cup in 2006, a Division One league, play-off and Cup treble in 2012, the National Trophy in 2013 and the Division One title again in 2015.

Friday’s game is part of the club’s pre-season programme which has already seen them lose a thriller by four points against another touring USA side in front of a 600 crowd at the Brentwood Centre.

“We’re looking forward to working with Oaklands this season and helping develop some of their exciting young players,” said Leopards’ general manager Dave Ryan.

“Friday should be a great chance for us play good opposition at an excellent venue, and hopefully gain some new fans when we return to our home courts in Brentwood and Harlow.”

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The American side are a mixture of players who have just finished their college career, professionals who have experience in Europe and a couple of former NBA Development League players.

They are playing three games in Britain, with the players all all hoping to gain pro contracts in the UK.

Admission is £3, with u12s free, and tickets are available on the door.

The game, which will be played at the Sports Zone at Oaklands’ St Albans Campus, will start at 7.30pm.