A TEENAGER has postponed heading out to America to play college basketball so he can sign up for an Italian club.
England Under 18s international Josh McGinn, 18, from Whitby, has penned a one-year deal with third-tier side Cestistica Ascoli.
It is an unusual move for a young player, but McGinn hopes it will pay off, having watched good friend Devon Van Oostrum – who plays in Spain – earn his place in the senior Great Britain squad alongside Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng.
It is likely McGinn will slot into Ascoli’s under 19s or U21 sides at first. But if he plays well, he may get a first team pick.
The former Ellesmere Port Catholic High School pupil said: “I decided on Italy because I knew I would be in a good situation in terms of playing and living conditions. I knew there would be a good foundation for me to get better with the people and facilities around me.
“It looks promising that I can go and get myself some minutes with the senior team if I apply myself correctly.”
Despite only planning to spend a year there initially, McGinn is trying to learn some Italian to help speed up his progress.
“So far it has been relatively tough moving out here and only a few people speaking English but I am slowly picking up on some Italian words,” he said.
Point guard McGinn has only recently recovered from a torn hamstring picked up during England U18s’ preparations for the European Championships at the end of July.
He was on international duty at the weekend, playing for England at the first ever 3x3 Youth World Championship in Rimini, Italy, where he helped secure 25th place for the national side.
McGinn’s mum, Edna Gossett, said her son’s plans to head out to American were ‘on hold’.
She added: “He wanted to go but there was a lot of work needed to get documentation and not enough time.
“He was offered the chance to spend a year playing in Italy and will spend these 12 months developing before he makes a decision whether to head to the States.”