Students from a Warwickshire school enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play alongside some of basketball’s global greats as part of the Jr. NBA programme.

Fifteen Alcester Grammar School students got the chance to go head-to-head with Queensbridge School in Birmingham at The Regal in Lambeth, taking to the court as the Jnr Washington Wizards.

The game was staged as part of the activities relating to the NBA London Game 2019 between the Washington Wizards and New York Knicks, providing another fantastic opportunity for Jr. NBA Basketball England participants to enjoy incredible experiences through basketball.

As part of the special opportunity, the students were coached by NBA champions Caron Butler, Bob Dandridge and Phil Chenier as well as four-time NBA All-Star Latrell Sprewell before tip-off.

Alcester lost the match but centre Jack Harrison, 12, found it an incredible learning experience working with Butler and Chenier as well as WNBA player Natasha Cloud.

He said: “It’s amazing to meet the professionals and you are trying to pick everything up because they know so much.

“They helped me improve my game so much in a short space of time. It makes you a better player in the long run.

“It was just a one-of-a-kind experience for me and my team. It helps us grow and become better players.”

Both schools, who have been part of the Jr. NBA since it started, were given specially made kits for the match and there were other activities including a shooting contest, skills challenge and dance competition.

After the game the legends, including the 7ft7in Gheorghe Mureșan, signed autographs and posed for photos with the youngsters as well as Watford striker Troy Deeney, who also attended to support the teams.

Jr. NBA Basketball England Leagues are designed to leverage the excitement of the NBA to inspire participation, and the programme aims to promote the shared NBA and Basketball England values of teamwork, leadership, fitness and healthy living through league games, Jr. NBA youth clinics, and league Finals events.

In 2018, Basketball England expanded their Jr. NBA offering significantly, moving from five to 13 leagues across the country to help bring the programme to more than 4,500 children aged 11 and 12.

“Playing in a specialised basketball facility like this is great. They get inspiration from some coaches and players,” said Alcester Grammar School teacher Jamie Richens.

“The students were able to show off what they’ve have learnt in the past couple of years.

“These guys have mostly been playing for two years now and competing in a different situation, under a bit of pressure with spectators, makes it a difference experience for them.

“We’ve got more than 100 students playing basketball at school. It’s probably our quickest growing and most successful sports club at school.

“Events like this help raise the profile of basketball even more.

“It was just a great spectacle for them and the chance to pick up from the expertise of professional players and coaches is something they won’t get again.”

To find out more about Basketball England the Jr. NBA programme, please go to