Few players in British Basketball have seen their profile rise so drastically in the last six months as 19-year-old Quinn Ellis.
The Sheffield native has been a highly-regarded prospect in the British game for some time, but since the summer more eyes have been drawn to the young star’s brightness than ever before, after claiming MVP honours at the Hoopsfix All-Star Classic, taking on Bronny James and Co at the Copper Box live on ESPN, and delivering in Italy for Monferrato.
Now in camp with Head Coach Marc Steutel’s side ahead of the GB Men’s duo of World Cup Qualifiers against Serbia and Latvia, we caught up with the teenager to discuss all of this and more.
“In terms of exposure, the last few months have been really, really good,” he said. “It has been a lot (to take in) as well, but for me overall it has been really nice to get recognition and be noticed for what I can do, because that didn’t really happen when I was younger, so I’m enjoying it for sure.
“I’m blessed to have the opportunity to come into camp as a really young guy and be around these professionals that have been in this team for so long. Having the opportunity to learn from and compete with them and just to be here in general is something I’m really happy about.
“One thing I’ve learnt is how important it is to be vocal at this level, for sure. Coming into an environment like this at my age it is easy to be quite shy and quiet, so the guys have been really supportive in telling me not to be afraid to express myself and communicate more, but I’ve learnt so much already and we’re only on day two so it has been really enjoyable.”
“I’m lucky to have the support I’ve had”
Ellis certainly has plenty of knowledge to draw on to prepare for him life on a senior national team camp. His mother Vanessa is an Assistant Coach for Chema Buceta’s GB Women’s side, his cousin Georgia Gayle plays for the Women’s side, and fellow Sheffield-based talent Devon van Oostrum is a team-mate in the current Men’s camp
The young talent discussed the advice Devon and Georgia have given him over the last few weeks and months, and how much he has benefited from their support.
“I’m lucky to have the support I’ve had,” Ellis said.
“Devon (van Oostrum) has been really helpful for me, especially over this last summer I played and worked out with him a little bit and he gave me a lot of great advice and he’s so supportive. That’s carried on in camp as well because he’s always talking to me and giving me tips, so that’s been great to experience.
“Georgia (Gayle) has been really supportive as well, she’s just been reinforcing that I need to be confident and not afraid to show what I can do on the floor. She knows me really well too, of course, and she just wants me to play as well as I can, so I’m trying my best to do that.
“I just want to show everybody what I’m abouT”
With Ellis named in the 24-man roster for this window, that number will be cut in half to a squad of 12 for the final gameday rosters against Serbia and Latvia.
The 19-year-old is by far the youngest player on the long list, and as such feels he has ‘nothing to lose’ whilst competing for his place in the final 12 for the upcoming games.
“It’d be an honour to be selected for the final roster for either of these two games, for sure,” he added. “Even if that meant I was on the bench all game and had the opportunity to support the team from there, or if I got a few minutes on the floor, but whatever happens I’m just really happy to be here.
“I’ve got nothing to lose, really. I’m the youngest guy here, but whether I’m selected or not is nothing to do with age. If Coach likes me and what he sees then I’ll be selected and I’ll do whatever is needed for the team whatever happens.
“I just want to show everybody what I’m about and build for the future. I believe I have what it takes to be a regular in this team in the future and hopefully a national team starter in years to come as well, and this camp is a great opportunity to show what I’m capable of and learn how to get even better.”
You can get your tickets for Great Britain’s showdown with Serbia at the Vertu Motors Arena on 11 November via the Newcastle Eagles Box Office now. Come and show your support for the team as they look to secure victory in FIBA World Cup 2023 Qualifying action.