Veron joining Stella Azzura Academy, Italy

Veron Eze, who has represented Ipswich Basketball Academy as well as IBC's Senior Men's team, is moving to an Italian powerhouse academy (Image: Pavel Kricka)

Ipswich Basketball Club and Academy are delighted to announce that Veron Eze, the club’s 15-year-old star in the making, has signed with top European Academy Stella Azzura in Rome, Italy.

Veron, who has been in the Ipswich programme since he was nine years old, was spotted by scouts while playing for the England u15 squad in Copenhagen in June, where he starred for the national team, leading them in scoring while being named to the tournament ‘All Star’ team.

After travelling to Rome later that month with his Mother Michelle and club Head Coach Nick Drane to visit his potential new basketball home, Veron has had a busy summer, representing Great Britain in Bulgaria at the u16 European Championships while also making a decision on his future.

Veron spent a large part of this summer on international duty, at under-15 and then under-16 level

Veron’s weekly schedule will not be dissimilar to his current programme in Ipswich: training daily in an elite environment, with a professional coaching staff and other high level players. However, as part of the programme at ‘Stella’, Veron will travel around Europe, playing against some of the biggest programmes on the continent, as well as playing against top college teams from the USA. The programme has produced players that have gone onto to play in the NBA and the 6’5” Veron is dreaming of that lofty goal.

The move has also facilitated a partnership between the Italian programme and Ipswich Basketball, with Head Coach Nick Drane being invited to work with Stella Azzura in the future, with potential opportunities for teams from the Suffolk set-up to travel to Rome for training camps and tournaments.

“Veron is a supreme talent,” enthused IBC head coach Nick Drane. “He has the physical attributes to play at the very highest level and this move proves that many rate him very highly.

“Having watched him grow as a player and as a young man since he was so young, I am incredibly proud of him. I’ve always said that we have everything an elite player needs right here in Ipswich – I truly believe there is nothing we cant offer any player until they reach the age where they are heading off to University – our academy is second to none in the UK in terms of player development and the pathway we offer.

“That being said, there is an exception to every rule, and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t think Veron should go. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the lad and I am very proud to have been part of his journey”.

Drane will stay involved with Veron’s development and will have regular contact with the player while also flying out to Italy throughout the year.

Veron is beginning an exciting personal adventure, as well as continuing his basketball

Speaking on his opportunity, Veron was full of excitement and anticipation for the next step in his basketball journey.

“The thought of leaving Ipswich before I finished Sixth Form had never even crossed my mind, but after visiting Rome and doing a lot of thinking and a lot of talking both with my Mum and Coach, we all decided that this was something I just had to do,” he said.

“I can’t thank the people that have helped me enough. Everyone at Ipswich, the coaches, the volunteers, the teachers at Copleston and most of all my Mum, who supports me in every way – being away from all of that will be a lot to adapt to.”

Drane added “Veron will complete his GCSEs in Italy via online learning, while learning to speak Italian, living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, playing full-time basketball at one of Europe’s top academies. If that doesn’t motivate people to work hard and chase their dreams – I don’t know what will!

“He’s a great advert for our programme, a superb role model to other young people but most importantly and special young man who made his basketball club, the academy his school and most importantly his family very, very proud.”

Veron moves to Stella Azzura on Monday the 4th September and is expected to play in Italy for three years before taking his talents to America where he will pursue his dream of playing College basketball.