Ipswich Basketball Club star Ethan Price to aim for the stars at Sky Conference Champions Eastern Washington University
Ethan Price cannot wait to get started with pursuing his American dream after the much sought-after Great Britain U20 stretch forward signed a scholarship with NCAA Division 1 champions Eastern Washington University.
The Bury St Edmunds-based player, who has won back-to-back EABL Southern Conference Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards for his displays with Ipswich Basketball Academy, is due to head Stateside in June.
“It is really nice to have the added pressure taken off my shoulders and have a deal done,” said the player who turned 19 last month and whose sister, Maya, is in her second year at Eckerd College in Florida.
“With all the uncertainty going on in the world right now it is good to have something to look forward to.”
Despite the former County Upper School pupil having five offers come through from America, the appeal of chasing more trophies on the west coast won through.
“Eastern Washington won the Big Sky Conference last year and there are a mid-major Division 1 team,” he said.
“Their coach won coach of the year last year and they also had the most valuable player, so hopefully I will be doing a lot of winning there.”
Given the current situation with Covid-19 it meant Price had to take part in virtual tours, but with Eastern Washington he was able to speak to four players to put his mind at rest.
And it has provided a much-needed lift for the 6ft 10in forward who has not been able to get going on the court in his final year with Ipswich based at Copleston High School.
While the Ipswich Senior Men’s team he plays for are just a division lower in the NBL than the Senior Women, they have had to see their counterparts’ side continue playing while restrictions have prevented them. It is due to Division 1 being classed as ‘elite’ while Division 2 is termed ‘non-elite’.
Even a back-up plan to get Price playing, with a transfer to Division 1 outfit Essex Rebels, ended up backfiring, only playing in one league game.
“My main focus this year was to be able to play as much basketball as I can and improve as much as I can but it has been a bit rubbish as we have had restricted training sessions. And we are not going to be able to play academy games until January,” he explained.
“With Division 2 getting cancelled I moved to Essex in Division 1 but they have not been able to still train at the University of Essex and have no games until January either.
“It has been a bit rubbish not playing any proper games and training has been minimal but hopefully when the gyms open up again I will be able to keep myself busy. Everyone is in the same boat though.”
Price, who has played for Ipswich since Under-14 level, also saw his chance to represent the GB U20 team for the FIBA European Championships last summer lost to the pandemic.
But just before lockdown he got to realise what he says is his biggest achievement so far, reaching the EABL Southern Conference Final Fours with his Ipswich academy side.
They beat Charnwood in their first play-off game but lost their semi-final to Barking, where he had to go off injured early. The final was eventually cancelled.
He also returned to action in July with the GB U18s, helping them finish eighth out of around 20 countries in a tournament in Greece to retain their Division A status.
Of his long-term goals he said: “It is knowing I have made the most out of my physical gifts by working hard and being able to make a living out of basketball with a professional career.”
Ipswich BC and Academy head coach Nick Drane gave a glowing reference of Price, saying he was undoutedly the best male player they had seen come through.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of Ethan," he said.
"He has been with us since the start of his career and we have all watched him grow and develop into an absolute beast of a player, and far more importantly, a well-rounded and mature young man.
"I have had the privilege of working with every player in this club for the best part of 20 years, and some of them have gone on to achieve great things. I can say without hesitation, that Ethan is the best player our boys and men’s programme has produced during that time – and it’s down to his incredible work ethic, talent and dedication to his craft."
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