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  • Writer's pictureLucy Atherton

Teenage Basketball Star

A teenage basketball star is leading the south west league for scoring, after only joining his team the Huish Tigers last year. 16-year-old The Taunton Academy pupil Alfie King is Taunton’s top scorer, averaging 22 points, six assists and 12 rebounds each game. He was instrumental in recent wins over Cardiff, Bristol, Plymouth and Dorset - helping the Tigers U16s in the National Basketball League and to get to the top of the South West Conference. He has already been pre-selected to play in the U18 National Premier League this year.

Ronnie Heath, his coach and the CEO of the children’s sport support organisation Create Development, said: “Alfie joined the Huish Tigers Academy with the help of financial support for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Despite picking up a serious injury which led to him missing much of his first season, he has developed into one of the best prospects in the whole basketball programme and now leads the National League SW in scoring. More significantly, his recent Tigers report demonstrates his enormous personal and social growth highlighting his bigger contribution to the club, including supporting less able players.

“Alfie’s an incredible athletic talent, but it’s work ethic and commitment to learning that sets him apart from others. He has made extraordinary progress but we are most delighted by the way he supports others. I have enjoyed spending more time with Alfie this year on the road, as head coach of the U16 group. When I ask him why he thinks he has developed so well, he is quick to recognise the support of The Taunton Academy’s outstanding staff. I’ve personally been lifted by a story that clearly demonstrates how high quality professionals working together can change flight paths for children.”

The Huish Tigers performance programme aims to develop young people’s individual skill sets to allow them to progress into professional environments. Sessions include leadership development, strength and conditioning, sports psychology and one-to-one skill sessions.

Director of Coaching Gary Carter said: “We are proud of the way we develop young people first and basketball second at Huish. Alfie’s success story is a tribute to many people working together to make something special happen. And of course, Alfie himself showing willingness to contribute positively to the Tigers community.”

John Abbott, CEO of Richard Huish, added: “Huish and Taunton have an amazing track record for producing exceptional basketball players and coaches, who go on to have huge success either playing or coaching at regional, national and international level. Hearing about Alfie’s continued success on the Huish basketball programme under the wings of Huish Coaches Ronnie Heath, Gary Carter and Matt Nolan further demonstrates this expertise.

“What is also particularly pleasing is to hear about how the wider Huish staff have supported Alfie to overcome some really tricky life challenges outside of basketball. It further demonstrates, if it is needed, the power of education and sport to transform individuals and genuinely change their life trajectory. I look forward to hearing about the further successes of Alfie and his teammates in the not too distant future.”

The Taunton Academy’s teachers Sarah Bird, James Mason and Rebecca Bailey encouraged Alfie to try out for the Huish Tigers programme. He also benefitted from extra multi agency work from the Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP), where Laura Dyke led to him getting the additional financial support to achieve his dreams.


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