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Ex-Leeds basketball player’s US success story inspires young

TALL ORDER: Taylor Saipe tries to hit the basket with Daniel Wright in his way.

TALL ORDER: Taylor Saipe tries to hit the basket with Daniel Wright in his way.

  • by Sophie Hazan
 

ex-Leeds basketball player Daniel Wright – who has made it big in America – returned home to inspire the city’s youth.

At 6ft 9in tall, Daniel towered over the young Leeds Tigers players at David Young Academy in Seacroft.

The 30-year-old, who grew up in Chapeltown with his mum and sister, was there to share his story.

Daniel said: “Basketball opened up a lot of opportunities to me.

“I got to the States and that increased the value of education in my eyes.

“To succeed in sport over there you also have to exceed academically.”

Daniel added: “My dad was in Jamaica, and my mum was a working single parent. I didn’t have the same drive in Leeds that I got in America.”

With the help of Leeds Tigers founder Claude Bandawe, Daniel won a sport scholarship at an American school.

He went on to play in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for several years with Howard University in New York.

And while he never realised his NBA dreams, he owes many other successes to basketball.

Today Daniel is a husband to Cherise, 29, father to 15-month Kalyah, and working as an electrical engineer in Boston, Massachusetts.

The rising stars at Leeds Tigers were really keen to find out everything.

Taylor Saipe, 13, who at 5ft 3in tall is currently Yorkshire’s leading goal scorer, said: “I wanted to hear all about where he went in America and how he did it. I want to play in the NBA.”

Founder Claude Bandawe, who coached Daniel for several years and helped him win his scholarship, said: “Daniel’s story is a really positive one. Things were tough for him as a teenager, like they are for many other young people around here.

“There were some difficult times. Now look at him – he is doing so well.”

sophie.hazan@ypn.co.uk

 

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