Kalil's High Jump From a Regular Basketball Player to England International

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Coming to the University of Worcester proved to be a life-changing experience for Worcester Wolves player Kalil Irving.

The 20-year-old from London never thought he would be a regular player in the British Basketball League (BBL) and an England international.

When he started the first year of his Marketing course at the University last September, Kalil started chasing Worcester Wolves’ head coach Paul James for a chance to prove his talent.

Sending e-mails and leaving voice messages didn’t look likely to get him what he wanted, so he decided to go to the court and ask to play.

“I didn’t really think I was going to play, I was just here for the ride and was happy to play university basketball and scrape minutes in the BBL,” says Kalil.

Just six months after that he is one of the key players in the Worcester Wolves team, making a big impact on the Worcester Wolves’ score in the BBL ranking.

“It’s beyond my wildest dreams. I thought I was just going to come here, do my three years and then be out.”

The success for Kalil didn’t end with the Worcester Wolves. His talent and outstanding performance got him a call by the England squad, also coached by Paul James.

“I was just on the internet and saw the England squad and I was just being nosy wondering who made the squad and I saw my name on it. I thought it was a joke because the coach hadn’t told me, so I didn’t believe it until I heard from his mouth that I made it and got the papers to confirm it.”

Paul James, head coach of the Worcester Wolves and Director of Basketball in the Institute of Sport & Exercise Science at the University, said: “He’s done fantastically for us and been rewarded with way more court time than I think he even expected. The fact he’s handled himself well at BBL level meant he should have an opportunity to play with the England team as well and give him that international experience. If he keeps working hard and applying his trade he can go on to have a very good future.”

Photo credits: Keith Hunt