November 4, 2021, by brzbs1
Scholar In Focus: Daniel May
Daniel May is one of our sport scholars at the University of Nottingham, playing Wheelchair Basketball. We recently spoke with him about his experiences so far as part of the #GreenandGold as well as his journey to becoming a scholar. It was a great time to talk with Daniel as he recently received his scholar award from the faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, and also participated in a landmark sporting fixture for the university. Daniel and his teammates recently competed in the first ever competitive Wheelchair Basketball BUCS fixtures for the University of Nottingham. Taking on both Worcester and Loughborough at David Ross Sports Village this past Saturday (30th October), we were delighted to see Daniel and the team put in some incredible performances, winning both games comfortably.
Congratulations on some brilliant results this weekend Daniel, how excited were you for the first ever round of Wheelchair Basketball BUCS Fixtures for the University? How did you and the team prepare for these?
I was buzzing with excitement for the inaugural round of BUCS Wheelchair Basketball held at David Ross. As a club, we were training together up to 4 times a week, as well as booking extra sessions whenever possible to get our team play and chemistry ready for the matches.
How did you find the matches and your experience on the day?
It was great to finally get on court competitively with my teammates and pleasing to see the results of our recent work. I’m really impressed with how well we gelled together out there. We put out a dominant performance in both games and I hope we can maintain the same intensity and work rate for the rest of the season. Of course we have plenty to work on, but it was a good opener to UoN WBB’s BUCS career.
What is your past experience in basketball before becoming a UoN Sport Scholar?
I first encountered wheelchair basketball at a Wheelchair Sport Spectacular in Cardiff when I was 6 years old, and shortly after joined my local club at the time – Cardiff Celts. To begin with, it was the social aspect that really appealed to me, spending time with people who had similar conditions to me, and of course to spend the limitless energy that you have at that age. Of course, as I got older I enjoyed the competitive nature of the sport more and more, and my development took off when I transferred to the Coventry Crusaders Junior Squad at the age of 12.
Before coming to study at UoN and becoming a Sport Scholar, I worked my way through every Division in the British Wheelchair Basketball League. From the Under 15’s and Development Division in 2014 to the Premier League from 2019 onward, I trained weekly in Coventry, despite still being based in South Wales and worked my way through the teams. Throughout this time, I also competed for the Wales Under 15’s and Under 19’s, as well as entering the selection process and playing my first minutes for the Great Britain Men’s Under 22’s in 2018 at 16 years of age.
What would you say are your biggest strengths? Are there any areas of your game you’d specifically like to improve?
My strengths definitely lie in my speed and work rate. Being able to push the floor at pace and dominate defensively, as well as hustle to get my teammates into the best positions for finishing are the parts of my game that I have thrived on in recent years. In terms of improvement, my own shooting and finishing is a current goal and target. Although I know I’m capable of making the shots, my confidence to take them, especially in clutch situations, has a long way to go.
What has your experience been like playing basketball at the University of Nottingham and what do you enjoy the most about being a sport scholar?
I’ve definitely enjoyed my time training at UoN so far. The Wheelchair Basketball Club and Committee are a great bunch of people that have been very welcoming. My favourite part so far has got to be the sheer volume of training that I’ve been able to get in, with a combined 6 sessions a week between club sessions and Strength & Conditioning. All of our official kit is pretty nice too!
What are your main aims and goals that you’d like to achieve as a sport scholar whilst at the University?
During my time at the University of Nottingham, I’m hoping to qualify for and compete at the 2022 Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham, which will be the first Commonwealth Games to host Wheelchair Basketball in any form. I also aim to progress further through the Great Britain Academy setup, with the target of entering the Elite Senior Programme for the next Paralympic Cycle.
What course are you studying at the University and how have you found balancing your studies with playing sport?
I’m studying BSc Sport and Exercise Science, and whilst the workload can be challenging when factoring in all training sessions, I know I can communicate any clashes or issues through my personal tutor and the academic staff will be supportive in finding solutions.
What would you say to other students who are thinking about playing the sport and getting involved whilst at the university? How can people get in touch with the Wheelchair Basketball club?
Anyone and everyone is welcome to come and give Wheelchair Basketball a go. As an inclusive sport we welcome any Able Bodied or Disabled person alike. You can contact us via Instagram DMs (@uon_wbb), our Facebook Page (University of Nottingham Wheelchair Basketball) or via our email address (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We wish Daniel the best of luck for the rest of the season and look forward to following his journey to the Commonwealth Games.
As well as a reputation for academic excellence, we have a history of sporting success and are passionate about supporting promising athletes during their time at the University of Nottingham. To find out more about our Sports Scholarship, please click here.
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