EXCITING times lie ahead for two of Ellesmere Port’s most promising young basketball stars.
Joshua McGinn and John Gould of Ellesmere Port Catholic High School have been selected for the England under 16s to play in the European Championships in Porto, Portugal.
They have just spent three days in the Netherlands playing in a four-team international tournament against Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg to warm up, and they will spend a few days in London later this week before completing preparations in Belgium with a three match series from July 27-29.
Josh and John, both 16, play for the Manchester Magic youth side, whose home is the Amaechi Centre at Whalley Range High School.
Having been selected by England head coach Simon Fisher they will tip-off their campaign in Porto against Denmark on August 6.
John, of Little Sutton, has already played for the England U16s having been selected a year early, but for Ellesmere Port-based Josh this is his first time on tour with the U16s.
“I know what to expect from playing for the U15s,” he said. “It is not my first call-up at this level, but it is still a big challenge.”
England U16 will take on Georgia, Finland, Denmark and Ireland in Group A, trying to finish in the top two to qualify for quarter finals.
When John was part of the England U16s last year they finished a creditable 11th in the 23 team tournament in Bosnia.
He averaged 3.9 points per game with a tournament high of 13 against Switzerland in the final game to secure 11th place.
This season the duo have been part of the extremely successful Manchester Magic club which has lifted the U16 Premier North Division league and cup double.
Coach Fisher is strong in his praise for both players.
“Joshua is a solid point guard who reads the game so well,” he said.
“His leadership capabilities are tangible on the floor and he has the ability to make other players play well.
“John is a steady rock of the team, he isn’t flashy, but just executes and delivers under pressure.
“He is a regular starter for us and his performance over the last 12 months fills me with confidence, which is a key for a coach.
“Joshua has developed into a main player off the bench, his calmness is key.
“I was so impressed with his performance in our last match against the Netherlands after our captain was injured he was the stand-out choice of all the staff to become the captain for the rematch, which is a real credit to his attitude and ability.”