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Malta youngster Nelly Lee Pace off to US from Sheffield

Nelly Lee Pace (right) has committed to TMG prep. Photo: FIBA

Commits to TMG Prep

Malta youth international Nelly Lee Pace will be crossing the Atlantic Ocean this coming season as the former Sheffield College forward has secured a move to California-based academy TMG Prep.

This will be Pace’s first step towards a college ball career as he pushes towards a JUCO move after this new season.

Speaking to the Times of Malta, the 6’4 player who left Malta back in 2020 as a former Depiro BC youth player said he is taking the opportunity at full speed.

“Sheffield was emailing coaching from the States regarding its players and TMG Prep came about and offered me a good scholarship,” Pace said.

“Now after this year, I will try to find a JUCO college to study and play for the next two to four years.”

Last season in the British NBL Division Three, Pace averaged 10.4 points per game, 3.3 assists, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.1 steals. Now he hopes to improve on this in the US while also attending a showcase in Manchester in October.

“I’m attending a showcase in Manchester this October hosted by the biggest platform in the UK for athletes to play in the United States,” he said.

“I was planning to join (TMG) in September but in order to attend the showcase, I’m going up there in November instead.”

TMG Prep is based in Orange County and prepares athletes at matriculation level while pushing them towards the advancement of their careers in basketball. Their current roster boasts players from all over the world, as far as Indonesia and Malawi.

Asked about what he was expecting, Pace lauded the academy’s facilities and showed appreciation to coach Jesse Teplitzky – the co-founder and director of the academy.

“From what I saw already, their facilities are astonishing and the way their trainings are structured is on a different level that I have seen,” he said.

“I’ll be having a personal food nutrition guide with me every day which is something that will separate me from other athletes.

“Also, TMG is well experienced in this sector of college basketball as they have a 97% success rate in sending players to NCAA, NAIA, and JUCO. Coach Jesse (Teplitzky) welcomed me with open arms and is ready to have me going from the start.”

Pace is not the first Maltese basketball player to head to the US and will be following the footsteps of Malta internationals Kristy Galea, Jack Zammit, and Sophie Abela. The latter had also gone through Junior College in the US as Pace aspires to do.

“Obviously it will boost my chances from any other athlete that never got the chance of competing in the States,” he explained.

“People don’t actually understand how different and good the States is compared to Europe. If you look at most of the foreigners that are actually decent who come and play here in Malta Division One, the one thing they all have in common is that they all played some sort of college ball in their early 20s.”

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