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Gorleston basketball player living his dream

PUBLISHED: 10:47 11 June 2010 | UPDATED: 18:00 30 June 2010

Patrick Manifold, on a trip home from the States.

Patrick Manifold, on a trip home from the States.

A BASKETBALL player from Gorleston is living the dream after winning a prized sports scholarship to the USA.

Patrick Manifold has just completed an amazing year playing in the hugely competitive American College League.

A BASKETBALL player from Gorleston is living the dream after winning a prized sports scholarship to the USA.

Patrick Manifold has just completed an amazing year playing in the hugely competitive American College League.

It has been a whole new ball game getting used to life Stateside for the 23-year-old who is an imposing 6ft 7in.

But Patrick has risen to the challenge, superbly winning awards for sporting and academic achievements at the University of Maine.

The Olympic hopeful returned to his family home in Cliff Hill last week having completed the first of a four-year scholarship. He said: “Basketball in the States is very different to England, it is quicker and the players are bigger and stronger.

“America is the home of basketball so the sport is massive there - similar to football in this country. The matches are covered by local TV stations and newspapers and attract large crowds, college sportsmen are put on a pedestal there.

“Distances are so much greater - five hours is not a long journey in America and we had coach trips of up to 15 hours for matches. The people could not be nicer and will do anything for you, although it snows often and can get below 40 degrees.

“I missed my family very much - that was easily the hardest part of being away. My mum Lorraine and sisters gave me the biggest hug and welcome home ever at the airport.”

Patrick only started playing basketball when he was at High School in Norwich and was playing for King's Lynn Fury before winning the scholarship.

He was named Rookie of the Year and given a Scholar Athlete award for academic and sporting excellence.

A management student, he achieved

top grades.

Patrick's dream is to play in the American NBA League and represent Great Britain in the Olympics.

“I expect to play professionally, if not in the States at least in Europe where basketball is also very popular and players can earn almost as much,” he added.

“I am hoping to play in the Olympics for the GB team - it would be perfect if I could do it in my home country for 2012.”

Patrick met Canadian girlfriend Chelsea at university who is spending the summer with him in Gorleston.

He hopes to arrange a basketball event for youngsters at the town's Cliff Top Gala this summer before returning to the United States.

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