FRANCOIS Nkoy-Eale has decided to take his talents overseas to sign for Latvian side BK Liepāja ahead of the upcoming season.
The 6’ 9” rising star was exceptional for Fr Mathews in recent seasons but announced his transfer shortly after the FIBA U18 European Championships in a deal that will see him remain in Latvia for the foreseeable future.
“I am extremely excited about this move. I’ve been here for a couple of weeks already and it’s been an amazing experience training and getting ready for next season.”
Nkoy-Eale began his basketball career in his first year at Douglas Community School five years ago before he was quickly urged to join his local side, Fr Mathew's.
His potential was evident from an early age, with his combination of height and coordination being so rare in a young player.
I’ve had extreme help from Fr Mathew's and Douglas Community School, both through coaching and having access to their facilities.
“I must credit my coaches Pat Price, Rosanne O’Callaghan and all of the other coaches and mentors I’ve had the opportunity to grow alongside.”
Following a successful trip to Poland with his club team, the imposing centre continued to compete across the continent with Dublin basketball setup, the North Atlantic Basketball Academy.
This squad travelled to Latvia to take part in the European Youth Basketball League, giving players like Nkoy-Eale the exposure to scouts that he wouldn’t otherwise receive here in Ireland.
“It was during the first trip to Latvia with NABA that I met the president of the league. After both trips, they got in contact with my coach Dan Russell and started talking about offering me an opportunity to come play there professionally.”
Over the summer, the Douglas native discovered the possibility of representing Latvia at the FIBA U18 European Championships.
Despite being a year young, Nkoy-Eale was brought into the Latvian set up a few weeks out from the tournament in Romania.
Here, he shone coming off the bench, showcasing impressive rebounding and composed finishing around the rim during his five features. Shortly after, Nkoy-Eale was contacted about the prospect of completing a move to Latvia for the season to play for BK Liepāja.
“There’s a big difference in difficulty between youth basketball and senior basketball.
“So, I’m hoping to use this experience to prepare myself for next summer’s European Championships.”