Introducing… Luke Busumbru

Luke is an integral part of our Essex Rebels Basketball Progamme. The 6’3” guard joins from British Basketball League (BBL) side Surrey Scorchers; a seasoned professional, bringing solid leadership skills and experience. He joins the University of Essex as an undergraduate studying Sports and Exercise Science over a three year course, on 100% basketball scholarship.

Targeted in our 2023-24 sport scholarship recruitment by Coach Ross Norfolk, who shares, “Luke knows how to win. He was part of the Solent Kestrels Championship team where they were unbeaten for three seasons, then played in the BBL last season for Surrey Scorchers. The vision for the men’s team is to be a BBL programme. We need to continue to compete in the National Basketball League Division 1 and contribute to the growth of the Rebels community.”

Luke’s story

A latecomer to the game, Luke’s basketball journey unfolds with happenstance moments that ultimately bring him to finding a home at the University of Essex.

Fast break to scholarship

“I started playing basketball relatively late, about 12 years old. I received some of the best coaching I’ve had in my whole career at the North School, by Andrew Sunderland, and was lucky enough to be on one of the few teams that trained twice a day every day! I picked up things pretty quick and by 15 I had earned a scholarship to attend Montverde Academy, in Florida.”

Turnaround and trophies

“I was there for three and a half years, played with and against multiple NBA guys and learned a lot. By the end of my time, I was really struggling mentally as well as having some family issues and decided to come home. I didn’t touch a basketball for almost three years until I found out I was having a daughter and wanted a career change from the fruit and veg section in Waitrose! I ended up at the Solent Kestrels for three years, on an historic run, winning a bunch of trophies and again learning a lot from the coaching staff and players.”

Luke Busumbru with player of the game trophy

Photo credit: Kay Lu, @kay.klu

Trials of turning pro

“After three years at Solent, I was offered the opportunity to play professionally at the Surrey Scorchers. Although we didn’t have the best of seasons, I was still able to play with experienced pros and vets that helped me be the player and man I am today. I suffered a pretty serious injury and didn’t have a plan B.”

Finding Essex and a future path

“Coming to the University of Essex was a kind of perfect storm for me. I have a great relationship with Coach Ross, who showed me from early on his ambition for the team and what he wants to do. Add that to the talented group of players he’s brought in, and the amazing facilities, it was an easy decision for me in terms of basketball.

Being able to get my degree on a sports scholarship was also a key part of me coming to Essex. As I said before, I didn’t have a plan B and to be given the opportunity to study and play, it was a no brainer.

Since arriving in Essex, I’ve begun coaching an U16 basketball team, loving every bit of it so far. I really enjoy working the boys and seeing their progression week on week. I always felt like coaching could be an option for me once I stopped playing; working with the boys has only confirmed that for me!

It doesn’t come without its challenges, I’ve never been the most organised and juggling between basketball, studying, coaching and parenting can have me all over the place sometimes, but I wouldn’t change any of it.“

Find out more

Find out more about our Performance Sport programme at Essex and follow our student athletes’ journey on Instagram @uniessexperform

Sports scholarships and bursaries

We are committed to supporting and developing high performance athletes. Find out whether you could be eligible for a sports scholarship or bursary, plus a range of additional benefits too when you join the University of Essex.