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Education, not basketball, is number one

Submitted by Grace Townsend on October 10, 2011 – 1:35 pmNo Comment

Will Neighbour, a native of England, was named freshman player of the year at Daytona State Junior College. He said his education is more important than the game. Photo by Matt Johnson

For Will Neighbour, basketball has always been a passion. A native of Great Britain, he always knew he wanted to play basketball. He played for Great Britain on the international stage and to him that was a dream come true.

“It is a dream playing for my country, I love it, there is nothing like it, you just really want to win every game and it’s such a great opportunity,” he said,  “we did the best of any team our age level had ever done.”
Playing for his country is one of many of his favorite accomplishments. He moved to America when he was a senior in high school and settled in Birmingham, Ala., where he attended Central Park Christian High School. He went on to attend Daytona State Junior College in Daytona Beach, Fla., where he earned Mid-Florida freshman player of the year honors.
“I honestly had no clue I was the winner until coach walked up to me and told me,” he said. “I was quite surprised but it was good knowing that all my hard work had paid off.”
Instead of turning professional and playing overseas, Neighbour decided to get his education first. He said his father believes education is a key component to succeeding in life and Neighbour couldn’t agree more.
Apart from education, he will  have to adjust to a different style of basketball than he’s used to. In European style basketball, big men often play further out on the perimeter than their American counterparts.
“Over here in America, it’s faster and more athletic and in England the big man can go inside and outside,” he said, “here in America, the big guy usually waits and hangs around the bucket.”
Neighbour said he believes his ability to play the perimeter might cause match-up problems for opponents. “I’m an inside-out player,” he said, “so I can take my opponent outside to the perimeter.”
Coming out of high school, Neighbour was recruited by several big-time programs, including Florida, Alabama, Syracuse and University of Alabama at Birmingham, just to name a few. He said his main reason for coming to UALR was the coaching staff.
“I liked a lot of the other coaches, but I really liked coach Kleine and coach Cunningham,” he said, “coach Cunningham recruited me from England, and that was a big deal because he stayed true to me.”

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