A University of Worcester student will combine his studies with playing elite level basketball after signing with the Worcester Wolves squad.
Zachariah Noble will be studying for an HND in Sport, Coaching and Physical Education alongside training and matches with the professional club, which is owned by the University of Worcester.
The 20-year-old shooting guard, who is moving to Worcester, said: “I am excited to be given such a great opportunity at Worcester and I am ready to step up to the challenge and contribute to the team.
“I am extremely proud to be part of the team and I can’t wait to start the hard work when the season begins.
“I realise that being a student athlete comes with its own challenges, but I am prepared to work hard to achieve my dreams. It won’t be easy, but there is lots of support on offer at the University which is fantastic.”
Noble, of Eltham, Greenwich, told how it was only by chance that he got into the sport at all after taking it up when he lost his place on the school football team at 13.
He revealed: “I got into it because my mum wanted to find something else for me to play because I was upset at being dropped from my primary school football team.
“I tried it once and found out that I was surprisingly good at shooting and found something that I was naturally gifted at, and I haven’t looked back since.”
Joining the Barking Abbey Basketball Academy, he was part of its Under 15, Under 16 and Under 18 National Schools League winning squads, and represented London at numerous regional training camps.
Over the years Noble has also won a number of competitions for his shooting skills. At 17, he spent a year in France playing for BCM Gravelines Espoirs U21 and U18 teams, where he helped the team become vice-champions of France and Trophee du Futur Champions, but decided to return home to continue his education.
The former Barking Abbey and Harefield Academy pupil also had a four-month spell at TBS Academy in Spain before returning to the UK where he went back to college to finish off his A levels to enable him to gain a place at university.
And, Noble hopes to contribute to a successful season for the Wolves this season and concluded: “I wanted to come to Worcester because after looking at other universities, Worcester stood out to me as not only being the place where I can continue my studies, but also the place that I feel I will be able to develop as a player during my time there.
“Being able to play with the Worcester Wolves team at such a young age is an incredible opportunity, which I am proud and extremely grateful to be a part of. I am looking forward to rising to the challenge and working hard to develop my skill set and helping the team achieve success.”
Meanwhile Dale Ryan, Director of Basketball at the University of Worcester, said: “We see Zac as the epitome of the young British student-athlete who comes to the University of Worcester for the opportunity through the Wolves and University setting – to complement their pursuit of a career in professional basketball and development as a player with academic study.
“We feel that with his talent and understanding of the game, Zac will make a valuable contribution to the success of both the Wolves and the University BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) team, with the ultimate aim of winning championships in both competitions.”