NHS Junior To Represent Team USA at Euro Youth Basketball Cup
By Sean Sullivan
Shooting hoops in Spain. There are certainly worse ways to kick off the summer break.
That’s Elijah Farrell’s game plan. The Natick High School Junior has signed on to make the Barcelona trip in June, where he’ll play as part of Team USA in the Euro Youth Basketball Cup.
Farrell’s moves on the court are what garnered the attention of the league that recruited him for the tournament and trip. Yetone has to first be seen in order to be considered, and that’s where his social media game came into play.
The 5-foot, 10-inch-tall point guard has translated and exported his on-court exploits to online platforms, an essential move these days for anyone wanting to showcase skills to a wider world. In the digital world, sharing is caring - if one cares to stand out from the crowd, that is.
Elijah began documenting his basketball diaries digitally a few years ago on Twitter, and has been adding videos and other posts to the site ever since. Among these are well-produced clips complete with soundtracks and slick edits.
Even his email profile picture is on point - an image of him in motion on the parquet. It was this persistent online presence that caught the eye of the group that would recruit him for the overseas tournament.
Elijah’s latest online post is a petition of sorts. His family will bear half the cost of the weeklong Barcelona trip, which will come to several thousand dollars. The family and community are seeking donations to help balance the books and make Elijah’s basketball trip a reality. Elijah’s mother, Marissa, plans to travel with her son on the trip, just about doubling the cost.
“It’s a pretty amazing opportunity for any kid in the area,” she said.
The family set up an online fundraising campaign on Indiegogo.com, which as of this writing had received pledges of almost half of the $8000 it will cost the two Farrells to make the trip.
The first leg of that journey will be to travel to NYC, where Elijah will board a plane bound for Spain. It’s on that flight that he’ll meet his tourney teammates in person for the first time. It’s one of the requirements of participating in the program - that all players on each international team fly together to the host country.
The young Farrell took ill last November, an extended bout with sickness that kept him off the court. The infirmity cut into the gains he’d worked those many years for, and also led to a loss in body weight. Yet he quickly battled back, recuperating and returning to a routine that has basketball situated as the athlete’s North Star.
“My son made the most remarkable recovery you’ve ever seen,” said his mother.
Elijah said he couldn’t recall a time when basketball ever took a backseat to other pursuits. In addition to playing for the Natick High School basketball team, he has also been on the roster of several regional club teams.
“I never really connected to other sports. It requires all different kinds of skills,” mental and athletic. “I always wanted something that’s going to push and challenge me.”
It’s the kind of single-minded focus that can eventually lead one to play in an international tournament, and perhaps beyond. Elijah said he hopes his dedication to the sport and opportunities like this one may open doors to a career on the courts.
It’s not unheard of for participants in events like the Barcelona tournament to be offered positions on teams overseas.
“I’d love to go as far as possibly imaginable,” he said. “I just want to play basketball as long as possible.”