The college has had a close partnership with a local basketball club, based at the Amaechi Basketball Centre, for many years now. The Manchester Magic has been the most successful junior basketball club in England for some time, winning 77 National Championships at various age groups. The college has also enjoyed some of the same success on a national scale, winning 10 National Championships since 2011. The Manchester club has sent many of its top players from U16 Boys’ and Girls’ teams to Loreto to study and represent the college teams, and many ex-students have gone on to have successful professional careers in the sport, receiving scholarships in the USA to study and play at the very highest level universities.
This year the college has been approved as one of only 20 colleges in the whole country to run the prestigious Advanced Apprenticeship for Sporting Excellence (AASE) programme. This programme gives our elite basketball players the chance to receive a Level 3 NVQ Diploma Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance, in addition to their A-Level and BTEC programmes. Every player receives a minimum number of 10 hours ‘on court’ basketball coaching, as well as a dedicated Strength and Conditioning Programme and unlimited access to a Sports Physiotherapist.
This programme has helped massively to improve our players both in terms of basketball skills and also physiologically, to the point that two of our current students play for the Manchester Magic’s Senior Men’s team in the top-flight of English Basketball in NBL Division 1. Upper sixth student Hamad Ali and Lower sixth student Kaiyem Cleary have both made significant contributions to the team that has made history this year by winning every national championship possible in the 2015/16 season. The team is coached by Paul Middleton (Sports Teacher and Head of the Loreto Basketball Academy) and they just completed the quadruple, by winning:
- National Cup
- National Trophy
- NBL Division 1 League Title
- NBL Play-Off Championship
This is only the second time that ANY team has ever won all four titles in one season.
Both Hamad and Kaiyem also have the opportunity to win further titles next weekend when they play for Manchester Magic’s U18 team in the National Final 4 Championships held in the country’s new National Performance Centre in Manchester. The two are looking to follow in the footsteps of other Loreto alumni by gaining a scholarship to study and play at a university in the USA, once they have completed their respective courses at Loreto.