CORK basketballer James Beckom is thriving on his basketball scholarship at the John Brown University in Alabama.
The 20-year-old is in the second year of his scholarship. He is loving life in Alabama.
“Our facilities are very nice and relatively new. We play in the NAIA division, with the strongest teams in our division being on a level with most D2 teams.
"Our competition is pretty tough. We made the conference tournament final last season but unfortunately, we lost.
"We finished the season 28-5, and were ranked number nine 9 in the nation,” he said.
James is currently pursuing a business degree along with his basketball commitments.
He is enjoying balancing both his academic and athletic ambitions.
“My college is based in a small town of about 16,000 people called Siloam Springs. It's very much country, but it is close to bigger towns.
"It can be tough to juggle class and homework with basketball but it has to be done. Basketball takes up to about 17-20 hours a week depending on the situation.
"My basketball commitments, my homework and studying mean there is not much time left in the day.”
The talented basketball player played his underage basketball with Blue Demons in Cork.
He has great memories of playing for Blue Demons.
“I played underage ball with Blue Demons from the age of six up until I was 16.
"I love the club and it will always have a special place in my heart. Some of the best memories I possess involve our rivalry with Neptune and going to play international tournaments.
"I made lifelong friends playing with Blue Demons.”
His consistently brilliant displays with Blue Demons quickly ensured he was noticed by the various underage international teams.
James has represented Ireland on numerous occasions at an underage level. He takes great pride in playing for Ireland.
“It was always a great honour to play for Ireland. I played in the U16 European Championship and then three subsequent international tournaments.
"We enjoyed good success. I have great memories of playing with the international team.”
James is thrilled his close friends Darragh and Conor O’Sullivan are also doing so well in their respective scholarship programmes in America.
“It is great to see them doing so well. Having grown up playing both with and against them, I always knew we would be good enough to chase our dreams and play college basketball.
"I try to catch with them as often as possible.”
James has specific goals he hopes to achieve in the future.
“My short term goal for this year is to win our conference tournament and win a National Championship.
"My long term goal is to graduate with my degree and play professionally in Europe.”