With basketball continuing to grow in Scotland and clubs like Perth Phoenix offering kids the chance to get into the sport, it’s inevitable that we’ll start to produce some great talent in Perthshire and beyond. With opportunities to further careers in basketball still relatively limited in this country, our best and brightest for now at least have to cast their net wider in order to realise their potential.
One local player who will soon embark on a basketball journey away from this country is Erynn Legge. The 17-year-old has put her studies on hold having already secured the grades she needs for university, and will instead travel to Barcelona to play for CB Nou Esplugues, a step she hopes will one day lead to a professional career in the game.
Erynn most recently played for West Lothian Wolves having started her journey with Perth Phoenix, where she still coaches youngsters trying to make the same progression that she has made. It all began for her by chance, as she opted to go to a coaching session for the under 14s which was taken by her brother rather than accompany her mum to the supermarket.
“I was ten years old and my older brother was a player and coach with Phoenix. Rather than going shopping with my mum, my brother told me to come along to one of his under 14s sessions and I’ve been playing ever since!
“I trained with Perth Phoenix for three years as the only girl in sessions that were all boys, and then the opportunity came to move to the West Lothian girls team where I’ve been ever since. I’ve also been involved with the Scotland national teams since I was eleven.”
Erynn will head to Catalonia to be reunited with her former coach at the Wolves, Luis Romero. He’s recently been named the technical director of CB Nou Esplugues and Erynn is excited to be playing for her former coach once again.
“Luis spoke to me around Christmas time about a possible move to Spain, and in May I received an offer to go over and join CB Nou Esplugues in Barcelona.
“I’m extremely excited as it’s an amazing opportunity and I know it’ll have a massive effect on my basketball knowledge and ability. I can’t wait to go over and I’m looking forward to being coached by Luis again.”
The end goal for Erynn would be a career in professional basketball, and with enough Highers in the bag to attend university if need be, she can now focus fully on being the best she can be in the game that she loves. She will however attend weekly Spanish lessons, helping to keep her education up while taking a break from the books.
Erynn’s mum, Arlene, is extremely proud of her daughter’s achievements to date and has watched her grow every step of the way. I’m extremely excited as it’s an amazing opportunity and I know it’ll have a massive effect on my basketball knowledge and ability. As any mum would be, she is slightly anxious about her girl’s move to a new country but nonetheless she knows what the move means for Erynn and her career prospects.
“As a mum, I’m anxious of her going to live, train, play and coach abroad but I realise what a fantastic opportunity it is and I’m reassured that she’s going to be reunited with a terrific coach, Luis Romero, who was instrumental in her joining the Wolves.
“This has been her aim for a number of years now and she has worked very hard to make this happen. She has managed to juggle school work and travelling to train or play, which has meant she’s had to miss out on social events with friends and family along the way.
“For the last two seasons, Erynn has been coaching with Perth Phoenix and at Perth High School. That has meant training, playing or coaching six days per week, so the grades she achieved for her Higher exams are remarkable.
“Although I’m a little anxious about it, I’m so proud and at least it now means I no longer have taxi duties every night of the week, and a lot less kit washing to do!”
Erynn will be turning out for the under 18s team in Barcelona, while also coaching the club’s under 10s team. Having coached with Perth Phoenix for a number of years, it’s another step up and out of the comfort zone for the teenager who will not only be coaching new players but communicating in a new language.
With the game growing in this country, talents like Erynn heading to the continent to improve their knowledge and skills can only be good for Scottish basketball. She is keen to see more kids taking up the game from a young age like they do in other countries, and has advice for any youngsters looking to follow in her footsteps and travel to new places through basketball.
“The game in Scotland is definitely starting to grow in popularity, however I feel there’s more that can be done to get kids involved at a younger age before they choose a different sport. When I’ve been in other countries there are always young kids playing.
“I’ve made friends all over the world because of basketball and it opens up so many doors for you. My advice to anyone thinking about it is to start playing, and make sure you always train your very best and as hard as you can, listen to your coaches and take every opportunity offered to you.”
If you’re keen to get into basketball like Erynn, then Perth Phoenix have a number of teams across different age groups. For more information, contact the club secretary Arlene Legge on the club’s Facebook page.
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