UCB's Basketball Academy

February 2014

He’s the only paid basketball apprentice in the country – and he’s honing his skills with the help of UCB.

David Malcolm is among the first intake at the university’s new Basketball Academy, which is run in conjunction with the Birmingham Knights.

The Knights, who compete in the British Basketball League, are owned by Solihull-based sport business Oaks Consultancy and David, as an apprentice, works for the Birmingham Sport and Education Foundation, the Knights’ charity partner.

Alongside his work and training with the Knights, David is studying a level 3 advanced apprenticeship in sport development, learning about different ways of training people and methods of fitness.

He fell in love with playing basketball when he attended Queensbridge School, Moseley. “In primary school, it was always football that was played and I wasn’t good at it. But I was a natural at basketball,” says David, whose height – he’s now 6ft 6in tall – no doubt helped his on-court performance.

David, a shooting guard, played for England at under-16 and under-17 levels, but his enthusiasm for the sport cooled when he finished junior basketball. “I decided I was going to stop playing as I was not enjoying it as much as I used to. People were pushing me to go to America, which I didn’t want to do. Then the chance of the apprenticeship came along,” said David.

He was attracted by the personal training and coaching aspects of the apprenticeship and knew Knights coach Paul Douglas through basketball circles in Birmingham.

David says: “I started enjoying playing basketball again because of UCB. They put me back on track.”

Fellow UCB student Luke Rankin joined the Basketball Academy at the same time as David having completed his GCSEs at St Augustines School in Redditch. Like all academy players, Luke, another shooting guard, trains every day except Thursdays. He is studying a Level 3 BTEC Sport, on which Knights player Martyn Gayle lecturers.

In addition to regular coaching, Academy athletes benefit from individual skills development, strength and conditioning work, team play and they compete in the British Colleges League. They have access to support from UCB’s sports therapy department, for massages and rehab, and there are opportunities to get a taste of professional basketball by training with the Knights.

The University’s Basketball Academy is already recruiting for 2014-15. Students typically take a Level 3 BTEC Sport (performance and excellence), following which they can continue in education at UCB or go into work.

Anyone interested in applying to join the Basketball Academy should email senior curriculum leader Elaine Limond: e.limond@ucb.ac.uk