Nikki hopes to shoot for the Euros with Great Britain
BASKETBALL star Nikki Luckhurst is set to shoot the next chapter in the famous Redbourn Luckhurst family sporting tradition. Nikki, daughter of American Football star Mick Luckhurst, has been named in the Great Britain squad for the forthcoming Eurobasket
BASKETBALL star Nikki Luckhurst is set to shoot the next chapter in the famous Redbourn Luckhurst family sporting tradition.
Nikki, daughter of American Football star Mick Luckhurst, has been named in the Great Britain squad for the forthcoming Eurobasket Division A qualification campaign. GB women take on Ukraine, Lithuania, Germany and Israel in their group with the top two guaranteed a place in the tournament finals in Latvia.
After an eventful four years at university in New Orleans, Nikki earned her call to the GB squad and is now looking forward to the challenge which begins when she heads to the training base at Celtic Manor in Wales this weekend. She said: "I am really excited. I've been with the same team for four years at university and coming over here to play is a fun new experience for me.
Mick Luckhurst, born in Redbourn, made his name as a prolific kicker with Atlanta Falcons in the National Football League (NFL) in the 1980s. Nikki said: "I have always been around sports. My dad played football, soccer and basketball. One of my coaches used to coach my dad and now he is coaching me also so it shows what a small world it is. I have grown up around it and value all sports."
Nikki, aged 22, has spent the last four years at Tulane University, New Orleans, where she was based when the hurricane hit in 2005. She said: "In my second year the hurricane hit New Orleans and we all had to leave and go to Texas for the whole semester. I was around my team the whole time, we ended up living on the same hall and we were up at 5.30am every day in the morning to do training because that was the only time the gym was free. We were all together again the next year and we went on to win our Conference. The experience kind of brought us together and we became a better team because of that."
Nikki plays as a guard and has earned plaudits for her prolific three-point shooting. She entered 2007/08 in the top 10 on the all-time three-point percentage list at Tulane and was ranked 11th in Conference USA.
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A foot injury threatened her England chances and made the senior year a struggle for Nikki in 2008 but after treatment she returned to fitness and was delighted to get the GB call. She said: "My dad had mentioned something to me about Great Britain only back in February but I had injured my foot and I was pushing to finish my senior year. I was really struggling to play it was hurting so bad. The news was really, really exciting but I thought physically I cannot do it, my body is so sore. I thought it was something I would really love to do if I could get my foot better.
"I went to see a doctor up in Maine which is a long way to travel but he really helped me out and now my foot feels really good and luckily I am over here and able to play."
Great Britain start their campaign to qualify away in Ukraine on August 13. All GB home matches are played at the Welsh Institute of Sport in Cardiff with Lithuania first up there on August 20.
Ukraine away Aug 13
Lithuania home Aug 20
Germany away Aug 23
Israel home Aug 27
Ukraine home Aug 30
Lithuania away Sep 6
Germany home Sep 10
Israel away Sep 13