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'He’s absolutely amazing, he’s inspirational': Can you help this popular Thurston basketball coach find an indoor venue?




An ex-professional basketball player who coaches young children, helping with not just their physical but mental health, is looking for an indoor venue where he can carry on his 'inspirational' classes.

Elliott Defreitas, 26, of Thurston, has played American college basketball and professionally in England and Italy, and started coaching tailored sessions outdoors earlier this year after schools closed down due to coronavirus.

The classes proved more and more popular, but as autumnal weather took hold last month, Elliott realised he would need to start doing the sessions indoors – the problem being he didn’t have a place to do that.

Elliott used to attend County Upper Basketball Academy.	Picture by Richard Marsham.
Elliott used to attend County Upper Basketball Academy. Picture by Richard Marsham.

He said: “We were very busy, and all the kids said how much it really helped them and got them through.

“But the last week of September and then the weekend after that I had to cancel both weekends, and then at that point I thought to myself if I’ve got to cancel any more it’s going to get quite bad, so I started to look at venues.”

Elliott has approached MP Jo Churchill to see if she can help him source a possible indoor location, and is keen to get the classes going again.

Elliott used to play at Hawaii Pacific University.	Richard Marsham.
Elliott used to play at Hawaii Pacific University. Richard Marsham.

More than just the physical benefits, both children and their parents have said how much the classes have helped them.

“I had one boy say to me how it had made school more bearable,” Elliott said.

“I’ve got one or two children with ADHD, or there’s another one with epilepsy, and it helps them cope with that, if they’re at home all the time, their conditions might intensify.”

One of the young basketball players who has benefited from Elliott’s coaching is 13-year-old Hamish Campbell, sister of Sasha Campbell who is part of the Fine Not Fine organisation.

Hamish’s mother, Jordanna Campbell, said of Elliott: “He’s absolutely amazing, he’s inspirational. He knows how to get the best out of all children.

“He’s patient, he’s encouraging and he’s positive. He’s absolutely fantastic, he feels like a gift from heaven.”

Elliott says having played professional basketball, he can offer a wealth of knowledge and coaching.

He said: “From a playing standpoint they always say how it’s really good to learn from someone that’s been in the position that they want to go.”

If you have a venue in mind that might suit Elliott, or you’d like to book in a coaching session, you can contact him via his website at www.swishcoaching.com/

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