Foundation celebrates Thanksgiving with college basketball teams

Foundation celebrates Thanksgiving with college basketball teams

Ahead of the London Basketball Classic, the West Ham United Foundation teamed up with the Princeton Tigers, the Army Black Knights, the Northeastern Huskies and the Manhattan Jaspers to lead a week’s worth of basketball themed community activations. 

Tipping off on Thanksgiving, the London Basketball Classic, presented by Inspirus Sports, welcomes four National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) teams to partake in a four-way knockout tournament at the Copper Box Arena with the final and third place play-off taking place on Saturday afternoon. 

As the official charity partner of the inaugural edition of the London Basketball Classic, the West Ham United Foundation organised a whole host of community activations for children and young people at a range of venues across East London.  

Foundation leads NCAA basketball teams’ community activations

Army Black Knights 

The week of activities kicked off with the Army Black Knights visiting the Foundation’s Post-16 Football & Education programme at their base in Beckton. In a similar vein to the college basketball teams, the Post-16 Football & Education programme looks to use the hook of football to engage young people in gaining academic qualification in order to raise aspirations and assist future pathways. 

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us,” said Knights Guard Jalen Rucker. “It’s quite nostalgic for me being around these younger guys. I was in a similar situation with basketball in terms of working in sport and education programmes with likeminded people who want to create a better opportunity for themselves, whether that be going to college or networking with the right people.” 


Manhattan Jaspers 

The Manhattan Jaspers took over a basketball session at Barking Abbey School, helping some of their young aspiring players to gain unique insight of life as an American college basketball player.  

“Talking to the young men and women was a great experience,” said Head Coach of Manhattan Jaspers, RaShawn Stores. “We love to give back and be an inspiration to the young people. It’s about giving back, and letting people learn from your story so they know that everyone goes through hard times, but it’s about how you respond to them.”

Foundation leads NCAA basketball teams’ community activations

Princeton Tigers 

The Foundation also oversaw the Princeton Tigers during their visit to the Bobby Moore Academy in Stratford. The students were very excited to be greeted by one of the stars of the tournament and last season’s Ivy League MVP, Tosan Evbuomwan. Having grown up in Newcastle, Evbuomwan returns to the UK to play in front of a home crowd for the first time since moving to the States. 

“I’m super excited to be playing in front of a home crowd,” exclaimed Evbuomwan. “I’m really looking forward to having friends and family who haven’t been able to watch me play in the States come and attend the games.” 

Being the only British student at the tournament, young people from the Bobby Moore Academy were very intrigued to hear about Evbuomwan’s journey in sport and education which has seen him move abroad to study at one of the most prestigious colleges in the world. 

“It’s been really cool spending time in the community working with the kids,” he told “I was here in the UK not so long ago, so it feels great to be able to come back here and inspire some people. I remember people having that effect on me when I was younger so being able to give something back is massive.” 

Foundation leads NCAA basketball teams’ community activations

Northeastern Huskies 

Following the Tigers’ workshops at the Bobby Moore Academy, the Foundation headed to Mossbourne Riverside Primary Academy to coordinate the Northeastern Huskies’ community activities. During their session, the players led shooting drills and dribbling exercises for the children before finishing with a dance off and a group photo. 

“The kids were really excited in the lead up to this event,” said Vice Principal Kerry Rollin. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for them in terms of engaging with positive role models from a different country. It brings loads of excitement and inspiration for the children, especially considering the way they are able to balance their sporting and academic ambitions.” 

“We’ve got a fantastic network and we’re constantly looking at ways we can help to make a positive difference in our community,” said WHUF’s Director of Programmes, Bryan Glover, commenting on the partnership. “It’s been brilliant to be selected as Inspirus Sports’ local charity partner for this event.  

“A lot of the people we reach don’t get the chance to leave the local borough and so to have American players take time to meet them, encourage them and give them advice is massive. They’re all looking forward to attending the games and cheering on the college teams too!” 

*To purchase tickets for the inaugural edition of the London Basketball Classic at the Copperbox Arena, head to

For more information on the Foundation’s programmes and wider work in the community, visit the Foundation area on the West Ham United website or contact [email protected]