UWE Jets are currently flying high with basketball being one of the university’s most popular sports. The men’s first team in particular, playing at the highest possible level in the BUCS pyramid. One key player is Jets’ captain, Alex Dehaan; here he talks about life in one of UWE Bristol’s most successful sport teams.
Competing in the Premier South league, the first team have a number of scholarship athletes and close connections to the city’s main club, the Bristol Flyers, who play in the British Basketball League (BBL).
In partnership with the Bristol Flyers Women, the women’s first team also compete at a high level, playing in the Western 1A division. But what is life really like as a Jet? We spoke to captain of the men’s first team, Alex Dehaan, to hear his experiences during his time at UWE.
Alex, how did it feel to become captain of the Jets?
It’s really important to me being the captain of this team. We’ve got a lot of leaders on this team which is what makes it so great. We’ve got guys who’ve come from all kinds of basketball backgrounds and when they can all give a little something different and give their own perspective then it really helps the team become as good as we can be.
And how far have the Jets come in the time that you’ve been with the side?
In the last three years the club have grown a lot. It’s great to see that progression from a Western 1A side that was struggling and had just a couple of key players that were relied upon heavily, to what we are now: a team of 13 guys, a real deep roster, who can all contribute.
What is it about the set up at UWE Sport that brought you here?
Even though we have some professionals in the side, it feels as if we’re as close as you can be to playing professional basketball. We have the nutritionists, we have strength and conditioning available to us, sports massage, sports psychology, and having access to those things has been so key in helping us grow.
I know from asking others that have come into the team that that is a real incentive as to why they wanted to come here, and they can really see themselves growing as a player.
And finally, where do you see yourself after the Jets? Are you looking to play professionally?
Well, that’s the dream right? And being part of the Jets certainly gives you an avenue into professional basketball. We’ve got a close connection with the Bristol Flyers in the BBL, and a large majority of our players go to play for the Flyer’s second team, so you’ve got those clear steps of progression to professional basketball.
Jamie Hore – B.Sc Journalism