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Connor Assefa Murtagh, aged 24, from St Helens, studied BSc Physical Activity and Health at the University’s Warrington Campus and graduated last month.

Connor is playing his first season with Sambenedettese Basket in Italy. He was scouted after he uploaded highlight videos of him playing basketball to his Facebook page. Connor was then introduced to the Sambenedettese Basket team’s coach, Daniele Aniello, through a mutual friend. Earlier this year, he then signed a contract with them to play in the Italian Serie C Gold for the 2018/19 season.

Connor has been playing basketball since the age of 16, beginning in St Helens, before progressing through the age groups in the National League for teams in Manchester, Lancashire and Chester.

Connor said: “I was selected to represent Great Britain at the 2014 European Championship in Greece. Returning from there I had the opportunity to sign my first professional contract with the Manchester Giants. I've also managed to play in Hungary through the Ball Out 3x3 Tournament 2017. Since then, I have played for Lancashire and the University of Chester while completing my studies. Now that I have graduated, I am playing my first season abroad for Sambenedettese Basket in Italy.”

Daniele Aniello, Sambenedettese Basket’s C Gold League Team Head Coach, said: “I came across Connor thanks to a mutual friend, who had nothing but good things to say about him. Connor is not only demonstrating fantastic talent on the court, he is also showing great ability in being involved in the sporting community at the club. We could not ask for a more talented player, or kinder person to be on our team.”

Connor is now living in San Benedetto, in Italy. He said: “It’s a great set-up here, being a stone’s throw away from the beach and a lively town centre, which I managed to take advantage of before the season began. I’m enjoying the unique lifestyle and culture, while adjusting to being a professional athlete. I’ve always wanted to learn another language, so while I am here, I have started to pick up a little bit of Italian - but I’ve still got a very long way to go!”

Connor will return home in April 2019 and begin training to return for the 2019/20 season in Italy.

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