Brentwood teen Hughes heading to USA to chase professional basketball dream
PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:43 25 November 2019
Brentwood teenager Theo Hughes has taken another big step in his journey towards becoming a professional basketball player.
The former St Martin's School pupil has agreed to study at the University of Northern Colorado next autumn, having had interest from various American colleges.
And he is hoping they can help him achieve his target of playing full time once his studies have finished.
He said: "They came to watch me a couple of years ago and kept in contact.
"This summer after the Euros they asked me to visit and it was exactly what I wanted. I will play pretty good minutes in my freshman year, which is an opportunity I want to take.
"There were six schools that had interest but my coach said he felt Northern Colorado was a good fit.
"They think with the right coaching I could be a successful pro. I hope that is what it leads to, whether it's in the US or Europe."
Hughes has been making great progress on the basketball court in recent years, representing Great Britain at under-16 and under-18 level.
And he has also ranked fourth and third at the annual camp run in London by former NBA star Luol Deng over the past two years.
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Such exposure helped the seven-foot centre catch the eye and he added: "This year we had a good Euros, beating Serbia who were fourth in the world and the defending champions. It was a really big win.
"I'm very technical and try to key in on those abilities, while working on my strength and agility too.
"I pride myself on my manipulation of the ball, passing and shooting. A lot in my position can't do that. Most are big physical guys who screen mostly.
"My skill as a seven-footer is what I pride myself on."
But although excited by the latest turn of events, and looking forward to playing for the UNC Bears in the Mid-West division against the likes of Idaho, Wyoming, North Arizona and UCLA, Hughes is staying focused on ending the current season well with Barking Abbey Academy.
Every week is busy with coaching sessions, strength and conditioning work and team practices, with up to three games per week as well.
And Hughes, who hopes to major in criminology at UNC, said: "It's been three years like this but I'm so used to it, it's what I do.
"A lot take a step back once it's all confirmed, but I will work even harder.
"I will finish the season here, helping the team playing in National League Division One and the EABL, and progressing as a player."
Barking Abbey head coach James Vear said: "We're delighted for Theo having committed to UNC. They are a great programme and have a tremendous staff.
"We're excited to see Theo start the next part of his basketball journey. I cannot speak highly enough about Theo both on and off the court. I am sure he will be a big success at UNC."