The academy, set up last September and run by coach Enrique Alonso, is attracting talented 16 and 18-year-olds from all across the county.
Its 25 students are boys and girls who have signed up for both an intensive daily training schedule and a commitment to their academic studies.
They train from 7am until 9am each morning with many putting in another hour or more each day while playing regional games at the weekend. All the students take a range of qualifications at Bedford Academy.
So far several students have competed in the U18 Men’s National League and have scored highly in games for the East of England division.
“Many of the students who come here have played for their local team, but haven’t had the training to take the sport to the next level,” said Enrique. “They come by bus from as far as Cranfield and Oakley to train with us first-thing in the morning. We develop their strength, skills and experience in the sport. We’re one of a handful of Basketball Academies across the region and our aim is to really make Bedford proud when it comes to basketball.”
Enrique, who produces a personalised training plan for each student, was delighted his players ended the season mid-table in the national league in March. He hopes to enter them in the Academy Basketball League (ABL) for 30 teams from schools and colleges across the country, next season.
Bedford Academy has invested £25,000 into a new gym for students at the academy and the rest of the school. Chris Deller, Head of Bedford Academy, said the Basketball Academy was part of the school’s intention to become a centre of excellence for the sport over the coming years.
“We’re so proud of our Basketball Academy - they combine a dedication to the sport with a commitment to sixth-form study,” he said. “They’re a credit to our community and to HEART Academies Trust, our wider family of schools.”