American Scholarship for Basketball Star

basketball starKapiti’s Jacinta Beckley to play for the Seattle Redhawks

By Angelo Robinson

Local basketball player Jacinta Beckley has gained a scholarship to Seattle University, Washington, USA. I’m so excited, Beckley said. I knew two or three colleges were interested [in me] but I didn’t expect to get an offer as good as I did from Seattle.

Jacinta signed her official letter of intent late last week to take up this scholarship and will be playing college basketball in the United States next year heading to Seattle in April 2014.

(The photo shows Jacinta signing her letter of intent for Seattle University with her mother Helen Beckley, Paraparaumu College Senior Girls Basketball Coach Brenda McKenzie, Peter Gosnell Director of Communications NZ Basketball Academy and Angelo Robinson Director of Coaching Kapiti Basketball Association.)

Jacinta will join the Seattle Redhawks who won the 2013 Western Athletic Conference regular season title. The Redhawks Coaching Staff are very excited about Jacinta joining their team and programme next year and have posted Jacinta’s signing on the Seattle University website –

Beckley, who is 1.81cm tall, has often played as a forward in New Zealand but is expected to play as a guard for Seattle University. We have been working on her guard skills,  says Peter Gosnell Director of Communications NZ Basketball Academy said. She’s got a very solid technique on her jump shot and is a good shooter.

Achieving the dream through hard work

Jacinta has worked hard, had a focused goal and now her dream is coming true. She has worked hard on and off the court. She has made sure that the basketball challenges were being met and also the strict academic standards that must be achieved before any player can be considered for a US university scholarship. Jacinta has ticked all the boxes.

Beckley also plays volleyball, basketball and indoor netball and if she has any spare time between sports practices and schoolwork, usually heads to the school gym for more shooting practice. It has meant a severely restricted social life but she is not complaining.  I love sleeping and I don’t have time to go out but that’s the price you have to pay to live your dreams.

Jacinta’s basketball career has gone from strength to strength and we are all extremely proud of her as she is the first basketball player from Kapiti to gain a full USA scholarship. I preferred netball early on but basketball gradually took over, Beckley said. It’s a lot faster and more aggressive than netball.

Jacinta has been an U18 & U20 New Zealand Basketball representative player and a member of the Hutt Valley Flyers, who won the national women’s basketball title.

Busy times ahead

She has trained here in Kapiti and at the New Zealand Basketball Academy in Wellington and will continue to do so right up until she leaves for the USA.  Jacinta will be attending the NZ Basketball Academy Camp being held on 30 November -1 December, after which she will be trialing for the NZ Under 20 Women’s Team.

Jacinta’s dream has come true and this now opens the door for other players who want to become student athletes and have a chance to study and play overseas. The dream can become reality – but players must

  • want to work hard
  • put the time in
  • have the passion, work ethic and the desire.


CONGRATULATIONS JACINTA – the hardest work starts now.