Manchester Magic point guard Lewis van Deursen is now a qualified Level 3 basketball referee.
The 18-year-old from Stockport, who was a member of Magic’s all-conquering U18 National Cup team, began officiating at the age of 11 at the Sport For All Centre in Reddish.
“I started refereeing so I could stay involved in basketball when I wasn’t playing at weekends,” he said. “It also gave me the chance to earn some money.”
Now, when he’s not playing, Lewis is refereeing junior National Basketball League games across the region. He will soon make the step up to senior games.
“I’d love to referee at BBL level and get my Level 4 and 5 qualifications,” he said. “I just want to stay involved in basketball.”
Does Lewis find it hard to bite his tongue when he’s playing and a referee makes a call?
“Yep, sometimes,” he said. “You have to keep the two separate. You have to put your playing head on and then your refereeing head. You have to work hard at it.”
Lewis is just one of dozens of boys and girls being mentored by Rick Dell, who is in his fifth year of running the referees programme for the Magic and Mystics.
“Rick is doing a fantastic job of bringing through the next generation of officials,” said club CEO Phil Gordos. “We identified a need to recruit more young referees back in 2017 and to see Lewis gain his Level 3 qualification is testament to the work that has gone on here.
“I want to thank Rick and Dave Woods, who have taken a leading role in this valuable project.”