Basketball Academy opens in Attleborough

A former professional basketball player hopes to inspire a new generation to take up the sport after launching a new academy in Attleborough.

Levy Utku, a PE teacher at Attleborough High School, has joined forces with the school to open up new training sessions for children and adults. It is hoped the community venture will nurture teams which can compete in local and national leagues, while helping basketball stars of the future gain sports scholarships in the UK and abroad.

Mr Utku, 50, who played for Turkey as a teenager, is aiming to emulate the success of previous classes he ran at Notre Dame High School, in Norwich, which he began 25 years ago. He hoped Attleborough High Basketball Academy would give youngsters an opportunity to try their hand at a sport which may not be taught widely in the area.

'It's about keeping children healthy, keeping them off the streets, being part of a team and having an aim. Everyone in my teams will have achieved and gained,' he said.

'I want to see all age groups playing and competing at a high level. I would like to see children gain scholarships nationally and internationally which is what I did at Notre Dame. Hopefully I can do the same here.'

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Mr Utku came to the UK more than 30 years ago. His son, Henry, 22, has followed in his father's footsteps, having played basketball for England and securing sports scholarships to study in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, in the USA.

On his coaching career, he said: 'I just love it. I love seeing the kids improving and achieving high. That means more to me than anything.'

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Training sessions, which began this week, take place after school at Attleborough Sports Centre on Mondays and Thursdays.

Sessions will also be held on Saturdays from 9am for school years four to six, from 10am for years seven to nine, from 11am for years 10 to 13, and from midday for adults.

Attleborough High Basketball Academy is open to all abilities.

Its adult members will play their first match against a side from the University of East Anglia (UEA) at Attleborough Sports Centre on October 22 at 11am.

For more information about the academy, visit

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