HAVING starred for Great Britain at the Olympic Games last year, Jo Leedham is ready to begin the next exciting chapter of her career – as a professional player in America.

The 25-year-old from Little Sutton has been signed to a rookie contract by women’s NBA team Connecticut Sun.

Leedham was originally drafted by the Sun in 2010 but chose to defer her place with them so she could focus on her international commitments with Team GB.

She was her country’s top-scorer at the London Olympics last year and is now ready to blaze a trail in the highly competitive world of the WNBA.

“It is the biggest stage, and rightly so,” said Leedham.

“They take it seriously and all the best players develop there.

“When the Sun drafted me they held my playing rights for three years so I couldn’t play in the US. I wanted to focus on the Olympics, but now that is over I think it is time for me to see if I have what it takes to compete at that level.”

Chris Sienko, vice president and general manager of the Connecticut Sun, added: “It’s been a few years since we drafted her, so we are excited to see what she can bring to our team.”

Leedham caught the basketball bug while a student at Ellesmere Port Catholic High School. She played for Ellesmere Port (now Cheshire) Panthers before moving to America to and enjoying a record-breaking spell at playing college basketball at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire.

She has since gone on to play professionally in Australia and Poland and is currently plying her trade with French Euroleague side Bourges.

Leedham hails from a sporting family. Dad Kim is chairman of the Cheshire Panthers basketball club, based in Ellesmere Port.

Mum Sue is a PE teacher and Jo’s sisters Jennifer and Kirsty have both represented their country at basketball at international level.

Connecticut Sun begin their 2013 WNBA season on May 25.