Ziah Francis ('09) signs multi-year deal with Trento - Hoopsfix.com

Ziah Francis (’09) signs multi-year deal with Trento

Ziah Francis COB Rockets Trento

City of Birmingham Rockets’ and England Under-14 Ziah Francis has signed a multi-year deal with Serie A side Aquila Basket Trento.

The 6’6″ 13 year old becomes the second Brit with the Italian team, after Quinn Ellis signed a 4-year contract last year – though is currently on loan to Monferrato.

Francis will make the move to Trento in August, which has come after standout seasons playing Under-14 and Under-16 national league with Rockets, while also representing Olimpia Milano in the Memorial Zanatta Tournament in December (pictured above) which he won while in Italy on variety of trials organised through his agent Marco Calise of Tangram Sports.

“The youth academy at Aquila Basket Trento is amazing,” Francis told Hoopsfix.

“I was lucky to have a few visits and offers from different teams but Trento was the best in terms of their focus on youth.

“The city of Trento and the way of life there is incredible, which was also a big factor in me wanting to sign here. I knew right away that they really wanted me, they valued me as a player and understood the way I want to play.

“The experience of trialling with them was great and to have access to great coaches like Marco Crespi, Coach Giovanni, Coach Sergio and the rest of the coaching staff there is a dream come true for me.”

Francis will continue his education in Italy, starting high school on his arrival, and he has also began learning Italian.

“Although I think we have phenomenal talent in the UK, we are still way behind countries like Italy when it comes to the sport as a whole,” he said on his decision to leave.

“I think it mostly comes down to funding. As far as I’m aware, there’s very little funding for basketball in the UK, which makes it very difficult for players to reach their potential here.

“I hope that will change in the future, and when I become a pro I will definitely use my platform to try to improve British basketball, especially at the youth level. After playing in Italy, it was clear that the level of competition, facilities, officiating and coaching is at a higher level than the UK and these are the things I need to progress and improve my game.”

GB Senior Men’s captain Carl Wheatle is the most successful British player to come through the Italian system, having signed an initial four year deal with Biella as an Under-16 in 2013.


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