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England squad call joy for Joel

PUBLISHED: 17:47 23 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:41 06 July 2010

Joel in action on court.

Joel in action on court.

A TALENTED teenager was celebrating an extra-special early Christmas present this week - as he was selected for the England U16 basketball squad.

Carlton Colville youngster Joel Keeble was “over the moon” after being named in a 26-strong squad for the U16 men's basketball team in the build-up to next year's FIBA Europe U16 European Championships in Estonia.

A TALENTED teenager was celebrating an extra-special early Christmas present this week - as he was selected for the England U16 basketball squad.

Carlton Colville youngster Joel Keeble was “over the moon” after being named in a 26-strong squad for the U16 men's basketball team in the build-up to next year's FIBA Europe U16 European Championships in Estonia.

The 15-year-old Sir John Leman pupil was thrilled with his national call-up, and on Monday and Tuesday he will be attending a special training camp in Nottingham.

The action will be fiercely contested on the court, in front of the gaze of the national coaches, as the squad has to be whittled down to 14.

But the 6ft 5in attacker - who captains the Ipswich Tomcats U16 side and also plays for Beccles Bombers' men's team - is looking forward to showcasing his skills with the best young basketball starlets in the country.

At the end of last season Keeble was celebrating winning the national schools cup with his Suffolk squad-mates, and with Ipswich currently fourth in the National Premier League - following their promotion last season - he is aiming high.

“I went to trials in Northampton a few weeks ago, and with other camps in Manchester and London, more than 240 boys from across the country were battling it out for selection.

“They cut it down to 26 and it was a real surprise when my dad turned up at my school a couple of weeks ago and got me out of my lesson to tell me I'd got through. I thought I'd done well at the trial, but this was a great Christmas present and I was over the moon.”

So what is he expecting about next week's training camp? “There are a lot of physical boys and the best players in the country are likely to be on show, but I'm going to go out there and express myself.

“For the past year I've been working hard at getting my attacking and offensive game better and better - and my coach Nick Newman has told me to just go out there and be aggressive to the basket.”

His “proud” parents have sent out a call to local sponsors to back him all the way to the top. If anyone can financially back Joel or could offer access to a gymnasium or basketball court to further hone his skills, then call Mark Boggis at The Journal on 01502 525833 (mark.boggis@archant.co.uk) and we'll pass on your details.


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