- National Teams
Perhaps lost in the hooplah of a marquee Kentucky and Michigan match up at the O2 arena on Sunday, is the opening game between Maine and Marist that features a homegrown Brit in Gedi Juozapaitis.
The former City of London Academy and Southwark Pride guard is now in the fifth and final year of his college career, being granted an extra year of eligibility thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
His final season of college play will be with Maine, where 7 games into the season he is averaging 15.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.9 assists, on target to be the best numbers of his time in NCAA Division 1, by far.
“It’s been great so far,” Juozapaitis told Hoopsfix ahead of Sunday’s game. “I’m really enjoying playing for Maine and for Coach Markwood. We have a special group of guys that I have fun playing with, that are bought in, competitive and want to win.”
The 2015 Hoopsfix All-Star Classic MVP is now approaching six years in the states, having done one year at Woodstock Academy after leaving London, before signing with Division II Flagler College.
After averaging 16.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists in two seasons at Flagler, he cemented his status as one of the best shooters in college basketball. He broke the school record for most three-pointers made in a season and ranked second in the nation in three-pointers made per game (3.86) – leaving him looking to test himself against better competition.
It led to signing with NCAA Division 1 school Georgia Southern for 2 years, where he proved his ability to compete at a higher level, averaging 7.5 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists as a senior, having multiple double digit scoring performances.
And now, all of that has led to Maine, where now, he gets to compete in front of family and friends for the first time in over half a decade.
Included in the trip has been a practice with his squad where it all began, at the City of London Academy.
— Gedi (@two2for3) December 2, 2022
“Coming back to London has been special for me,” he enthused.
“It’s been a few years since I played here in the city. I didn’t see much coverage on our game but hopefully it’s gonna be a good, home crowd. Practising at CoLA was a very nice experience, seeing my guy coach Jackson (Gibbons) and being able to bring my college team back to where it all began for me. Then we got to explore London as a team the last few days which was really nice.”
After London, the focus returns to finishing his college career on a high to become another British player in the professional ranks.
“Plan for the future is to go pro,” he exclaimed. “Hopefully I’m able to get some opportunities after this season.”
Maine take on Marist at 3:30pm at the O2 arena on Sunday 4th December as part of the Basketball Hall of Fame London Showcase, tickets are still available.