- National Teams
England Under-18 Luke Nelson (1995 born) has become the first Brit to be named on the reserve panel for the FIBA U18 All Star Game 2013.
The 6’3″ point guard, who hails from Worthing but spent the past two seasons playing for Reading Rockets, has just headed out to the University of California Irvine, getting ready for his freshman season and will only travel to Slovenia should one of the original roster not be available. However, it is huge recognition for the rising young star.
The game sees 24 of the best U18 players from the 2013 Youth European Championships come together in an exhibition.
“It’s a great honour to be selected as a reserve for such a prestigious event. This event has seen many current NBA players compete previously, and to say I am a reserve is great,” the 18 year old said.
Nelson averaged 19 points (second in the tournament), 3.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.8 steals per game in Latvia, helping England to a ninth place finish in their first ever Division A campaign, including a historic win over Spain.
“England’s win over Spain during the European Championships was a big highlight for me as it was my best game of the tournament (29 points, six rebounds and five assists),” said the former Reading Rocket, who had 18 of England’s 28 first half points. “It felt so good to beat one of the powerhouses of European basketball and to have played really well against them feels amazing.
“The way we performed as a team throughout the game is something for me and the rest of my England teammates to be very proud of. We went through ups and downs, but we showed great resilience to come back and win in overtime.”
Luke landed in California at the end of last month, and appears to be settling in just fine. Basketball scouting authority Draft Express has him ranked 78th amongst NCAA Freshmen this season whilst his 7’5″ teammate, Mamadou Ndiaye, is placed 70th.
Nelson, who helped lead both the England U16s and U18s to Division A promotion, and became the youngest player to ever be named EBL Division 1 Player of the Year last season, is from a basketball family with his sister Kyla Nelson competing for England U16 in the European Championship Women Division B in August, while his father Steve was also a former international, representing England 18 times.
Damian Jennings is the only other Brit who has previously been involved in the All Star game, coaching in the first edition in 2009 as a result of graduating in the top four of the FIBA Europe Coaching Certificate Programme.
The FIBA U18 All Star Game 2013 tips off at 12:00 in Stozice Arena, Ljubljana on the 21 September which is game day for 5th-8th place of EuroBasket 2013. See the full rosters here.
Image Credit: FIBA Europe