Meet: Lizzy Harrison

Former BA Art, Graphic and Design student turned pro-basketball player Lizzy Harrison sits down with Oaklands College to discuss her time as a student at the college.

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Former BA Art, Graphic and Design student turned pro-basketball player Lizzy Harrison sits down with Oaklands College to discuss her time as a student at the college. 

Tell us about your time at Oaklands? Why did you choose us?

I studied Art, Photography and Human Biology A Level at Oaklands from 2009 to 2012 and absolutely loved it! 2009 was the very first year of the basketball academy, so everything was new, not only to me but for the coaching staff and college itself. Being able to combine basketball with academics whilst being a residential student was honestly such a great experience.
What inspired you to take up basketball, did you play previously? What bought you to Oaklands Wolves Basketball Academy? 

I was one of those kids that played every sport when I was young; I competed in high jump to a national level before I switched over to Basketball at about age 14. Michael Ball recruited me to play and study at Oaklands after meeting me in the 2009 summer regional tournament. I spent three years here on a demanding schedule of early mornings, multiple practices a day, and managing my studies, all of which prepared me for the next step.

What did you learn from your time with us and what were your biggest achievements?

The academy allowed me to dedicate more time to basketball than I ever had done before, all whilst not compromising on academics. In this environment, I learnt how to be a performance athlete and set and achieve goals, which gave me a new level of confidence.

My biggest achievement was earning a scholarship to play basketball in the US. My time in the US was a challenge to say the least. I think any player that goes over there for college would say there is a lot to adjust to; the coaching styles, culture, food, classes, weather, even earlier mornings! But what an incredible experience; I feel lucky to have been able to play the sport I love, earn a degree, travel the US and meet so many amazing people, all because of the basketball academy at Oaklands College. Safe to say though, even after all the early morning workouts, I am still not a morning person!

How important do you feel it is that society embrace the rise of women’s sport?

At the end of the day, the sacrifice, dedication and blood sweat and tears of any sportsperson is exactly the same, regardless of gender. For me, that’s why it’s so important. We all deserve to be celebrated equally. But until then, we all have to do our bit to keep shouting about the amazing success stories from female athletes.

What is your favourite Oaklands Wolves Basketball moment?

So I’ve gone full circle, and now I’m back playing for the Wolves in the pro women’s team. In my first season back from the US I hit a huge three point shot to take us to overtime against Cardiff on the road and we went on to win the game! I’ve had a lot of great moments in my career, but this one was extra special as I did it in an Oaklands jersey.

Tell us about your new role working with the college?

I work in the marketing team as the School Liaison & Marketing Executive. I work with schools to inform their year 10 and 11 students about the college; whether it’s through school assemblies, attending careers fairs, running taster days or giving campus tours.

I also do a lot of event photography and contribute to the design and print work for leaflets, publications and digital artwork. I’m helping Chris out with his new digital series “Where are they now” which I’m really excited about, so keep your eyes peeled for that over the summer!

What is your day to day at Oaklands? What areas do you cover, what schools etc?

That’s one thing I love about my job, everyday is different. I could be out of the office all day visiting schools, at my desk organising a school event or designing some marketing material, it varies a lot.

I’m in contact with about 130 schools making sure they’re up to date with all the great stuff we’re doing here and planning for upcoming visits/events.

Anything else you’d like to be added into the case study/meet the staff piece?

Shout out to Michael Ball, Lee Ryan and all the coaching staff for their constant hard work within the basketball academy. They continue to give young athletes like myself the opportunity to flourish in such a great environment.

Make sure to check out our game schedule in September – we would love to see you at our games!

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