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England call-up for talented Joel Keeble

PUBLISHED: 12:28 09 July 2010 | UPDATED: 21:52 01 August 2010

TALENTED teenage basketball player Joel Keeble has slam dunked his way to the top.

The 16-year-old from Carlton Colville, was celebrating a top double this week after being selected in the England U16 boys squad for the European Championships in Estonia next month.

TALENTED teenage basketball player Joel Keeble has slam dunked his way to the top.

The 16-year-old from Carlton Colville, was celebrating a top double this week after being selected in the England U16 boys squad for the European Championships in Estonia next month.

And this latest accolade comes a week after being named as the best junior sportsman at the Active Waveney Sports Awards, run by Waveney District Council and sponsored by The Journal.

The Ipswich Basketball Club player will now not only pull on an England vest as he represents his country next month, but he will collide against some of the best 15 and 16 year olds in the world, in front of top coaches and scouts from across the globe.

Keeble was informed of his call-up on Monday, after impressing at weekend trials - which saw him start in the first five England players for his first-ever full international against Wales on Saturday night.

England won by more than 35 points, and Keeble's showing ensured his ultimate selection. His proud dad Jerry Keeble said: “Joel played really well and he will now go to play in a full-international tournament between England and Belgium over three days, before flying out to Denmark for another three-day tournament.”

The jet-setting young star, will then return to England for four days before the squad heads off to Estonia. Fellow Ipswich Tomcat Ben Mead, from Debenham, also made the cut in making the final squad and they are now preparing for major challenges ahead.

“This is the best advert yet for Ipswich Basketball Club but more so basketball in Suffolk as a whole,” said Tomcats Head Coach Nick Drane. “We are one of the few counties that only has one national league club, which has enabled there to be a pathway for these boys from local community competition, to national league and regional basketball.

“Everybody has worked together for the boys, in many other areas and in many other sports there wouldn't be this collective effort to do what's right for the individual and Suffolk should be very proud of what these two boys have achieved.

“The work that they, and their coaches have put in to get them to this stage is phenomenal, but the boys now need to take that next step and go into Europe and perform,” Drane said.

Keeble will join Drane's Ipswich Basketball Academy squad at Copleston Sports College in September where he will combine his education with 15 hours of basketball per week.

Before then, both teenagers travel to Estonia at the beginning of August to prepare for the championships, which start on August 5. England are in a group with Belarus, Ireland and the Czech Republic.

And praising the support of Joel's sponsors Nirvana, for letting him use their gym, the Sports Foundation for their grant and all his backers, Mr Keeble said: “Despite finishing his schooling at Sir John Leman, Joel is still going into their gym to train on his own two or three hours a day to push himself - that shows his dedication.”

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