SOUTHEND Rockets’ basketball star Efe Ukegheson is set to represent England under-15s in the Lions Cup.

England will travel to the French capital of Paris to go head-to-head with some of Europe’s best sides, including national team select squads from Poland and Lithuania.

And Rockets head coach Josh Prentice has tipped the 14-year-old St Thomas More School pupil for a bright basketball future.

Prentice said: “To put it simply, Efe is a special young man.

“His achievements on the basketball court are unprecedented within our club and to be selected a year young for national team honours is an achievement that an overwhelming minority of players attain.

“This, for me, is not what makes him truly special. It’s his character, commitment to helping others and relentless hunger to drive himself to success.

“He is ruthlessly hardworking, refreshingly humble and a huge part of our wider club community.

“He’s well loved by everyone in the club, especially the younger players for whom he sets a faultless example of how a Rocket should behave.

“I know I speak for everyone in the club when I say that being proud is an understatement, we’ve all been hopping with excitement together since hearing Efe’s news.

“I look forward to watching Efe’s promising career unfold and providing as much support as we possibly can on a club level to nurture Efe’s phenomenal talent.”

Along with Rockets team-mates Kehinde Ashaolu and Dylan Sevilliano, Efe helped St Thomas More to defend their Essex Cup title earlier this year.

Since joining his club side at the age of 11, Efe has represented the Rockets at under-12, under-14, under-16 Premier, under-18 and senior men’s level.

Efe led his under-14 team to the Basketball England National League East Conference title this term and his performances led to selection for the under-15 and under-15 England Talent Programme squad, where he attended a three-day camp in Manchester.

The teenager was also formally commended as among the most skilled players in attendance at the camp and labelled as a potential leader for the under-14 group during a performance meeting.

Efe has competed for the East of England representative team twice in the last 12 months.

Rockets will be running a senior men’s team and National League teams at all age groups next season, along with open community sessions. For more information, email