Case study

Inspiring the next generation of basketball players

Ronald Oberia has made a significant contribution to basketball in Derby and competes for the Derby Trailblazers in the National Basketball League. 

From zero to hero

I first started playing sports when I was 16. My skill set was very low, but I possessed athletic attributes that were outstanding for my age so I joined the City of Birmingham Rockets. Here I blossomed into the player I am currently. One of my proudest achievements was last season, where I helped my national league team, Team Derby Spartans, get promoted from division 3 to division 2. I was also very happy the University team was able to secure first place in Division 1A Midlands British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) championships.

Putting the work in 

I do feel as if I have been on a transformational journey. Academically, I have stepped up my work rate and decided to achieve higher than just the average grade. I’ve also put my confident nature to great use in making friends so I can gain knowledge from my peers.

Basketball scholar, Ronald Oberia, holding a basketball.

Whether it is the final or a regular game we want to win and prove to others and ourselves that we can be successful. Whilst the University have been supportive for my athletic progression, they also offer great support on the education side of things.

Ronald Oberia
Basketball Scholar

Prioritising your wellbeing

The University has offered me great support academically and in my chosen sport. I felt comfortable booking tutorials with my tutors and felt when I was stuck I had different people to contact. The University also offers a great wellbeing service, which as a student-athlete I think is essential for my overall mental health. Regarding basketball, Team Derby has supported me to develop as a player.

Being a role model

The benefits of the sports scholarship are absolutely fantastic with things such as: accessing the courts when required for additional practice, gym membership, strength and conditioning sessions, one-to-one review with the Team Derby staff on how things are going, and workshops on life skills.

I have enjoyed being a role model for the local national league side younger players attending camps to help aspire them to one day become a Team Derby player. Also being a sports scholar brings a sense of respect from others; this is because other students acknowledge the hard work and discipline we must put in to obtain the standards that are expected. There is also a sense of responsibility that comes with being a scholar, as you are seen as a role model, representing Team Derby.

The scholarship has supported me by reducing my university fees, but also it has given me the opportunity to play at a high level as a Team Derby student. They have also helped me in contacting my lecturers when I have needed additional support to be able to maintain the balance between my life, sport and academics.

Derby provides an excellent physio service. The physiotherapist is able to break down injuries and find a solution to keep me on the court as much as possible through the busy seasons. Additionally, I have attended lifestyle workshops that have supported me to keep improving as a student-athlete. I particularly enjoyed ‘the importance of sleep’ workshop and they have taught a more positive approach to certain aspects of life.

Team Derby basketball team play at home at the University of Derby Sports Centre.

Planning ahead 

My course has taught me how important it is to be organised and plan my daily activities in advance as this is essential for me to be able to balance both my sporting and academic commitments. It has also taught me to take accountability for my actions, so if I am aware I have assignment deadlines and exams coming up I need to prepare well as if I do not I now understand I am preparing to fail.

One way I have been able to manage my time is by making great use of my calendar on my phone. This enables me to keep track of all my lectures, training, study time and upcoming events. The reason I find this helpful is because I use my phone a lot so getting notifications allows me to keep track of everything planned.

Engineering the future 

My main goal career-wise is to be able to play for a professional team in the United Kingdom or Europe. I also see myself playing internationally; I would love to represent either Nigeria or Great Britain at basketball. With my education, I would like to graduate from the University with a first-class degree in Civil Engineering. I am aware that I have to prepare for life after sport and I hope this degree will help me become a civil engineer in the future.

Student on a bike in the performance suite at the Sports Centre.

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