College and Glasgow Rocks Establish Unique Basketball Academy

Glasgow Kelvin College has joined forces with spectacular professional basketball team, Glasgow Rocks, to found the Glasgow Rocks Basketball Academy, the first academy of its kind in Scotland.

Glasgow Rocks Team owner, Duncan Smillie and Glasgow Kelvin Principal, Alan Sherry, signed a Partnership Agreement which maps out the way ahead for budding basketball heroes.

Head Coach, Darryl Wood joined Rocks’ Captain, Kieron Achara, Academy Director Gareth Murray, Alison Thewliss MP for Glasgow Central, College lecturer Carol Goodwin and one of GKC’s HN Sports Coaching students to celebrate the first steps in this pioneering initiative.

The innovative pilot programme is aimed at keen young amateur players who want to pursue a basketball career while also studying for qualifications. The basketball element of the programme will be provided by Glasgow Rocks and will run in parallel with their studies on a mainstream course, undertaken at Glasgow Kelvin College.

The partners will recruit 20-25 young people to the Academy, where each would have the opportunity to practice on a daily basis and play one competitive game a week on top of their full-time programme of study.

Other Glasgow Kelvin College students on the HN Sports Coaching programme will also benefit from gaining real work experience by supervising strength and conditioning training sessions in the fully-equipped gym and sports facilities at Glasgow Kelvin College. Links with Scotland’s only men’s professional basketball team will also inject a performance element to the College’s existing sports programmes.

Over the years, the College and Glasgow Rocks have developed a strong relationship and Glasgow Kelvin is delighted to develop and expand this in a pioneering way which benefits students and the college community.

Duncan Smillie, dynamic owner of Glasgow Rocks Basketball Team, said: “The Glasgow Rocks Basketball Academy in partnership with Glasgow Kelvin College is an initiative we have been looking to get off the ground for some time and it’s very exciting. The Academy can make a genuine difference to the lives of the students. Young people getting an education running parallel with a first class basketball programme gives a pathway to pro-basketball in the UK, Europe or even the US college system. The bar will be high for students as it should be but this opportunity could be life-changing for the young men involved. We hope the Academy will eventually be extended to include a programme for female players too. I would like to thank Glasgow Kelvin College for their passion and support for young people in Glasgow – it is quite inspiring and we are proud to have them as a partner. I am equally thrilled that we have appointed Gareth Murray as Academy Director. He has one of the UK’s finest basketball minds and his leadership of the Academy coach and students assures a first class programme will be delivered.”

Glasgow Kelvin Principal, Alan Sherry, added: “The College welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with Glasgow Rocks to establish the first Basketball Academy in Scotland. Each student will select their own course while developing their basketball skills. Having the Basketball Academy will also provide real work experience for other students at the College. Together we are confident that the Basketball Academy will provide both learning and sports opportunities in an innovative setting. We are delighted to expand further our partnership with Glasgow Rocks and look to the future of the Academy with real enthusiasm.”

Glasgow Rocks Coach, Darryl Wood, said: “It’s very exciting to be launching the Basketball Academy. It is definitely a step in the right direction allowing us to bridge the gap between the amateur level and professional level player. It will also provide a great opportunity to enhance education for young people who take that step into the game and that is a crucial part of the programme.”

Glasgow Rocks player and Academy Director, Gareth Murray is excited for everything to get underway. He stated: “I am very happy to be appointed Academy Director. I believe it is a great initiative to keep young people studying and continue their development as a basketball player. It gives young ambitious players the chance to continue their studies and potential to move on to university or even becoming a professional player with the Rocks.”

For more information, contact Glasgow Rocks: gareth@glasgowrocks.co.uk or keep an eye on Glasgow Kelvin’s website at www.glasgowkelvin.ac.uk in the near future.