Story by Chris Brammer/East Anglian Daily Times
Suffolk-based Elliott DeFreitas graduated from Bury St Edmunds-based basketball academy in 2013 to attend Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), winning two Region 11 Conference Championships and reaching two national finals.
However, it was in Hawaii where he made the biggest impact.
After transferring there in 2015 and enjoying a solid first season, he then helped the university win a record 23 games, losing only three – the best in the the school's history.
As a result, they finished as the Pacific West Conference champions for the first time and also won the Pacific West tournament crown.
Hawaii Pacific also claimed their highest-ever National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) ranking, reaching number four in the national poll.
In all, DeFreitas won three Conference championship rings and three Conference Tournament crowns.
He is now back in the UK and preparing for his rookie season as a professional and will become the third player from County Upper to sign a professional contract, following in the footsteps of Grant Bangs and Blayne Freckleton, who signed with FSU Selfoss, in Iceland, and London Lions, respectively in 2013.
"Not many, if any, English basketball players have been fortunate enough to play for two different teams within the US college system and win three Conference Championships and three Conference Crowns," said County Upper coach, Darren Johnson.
"He is a hard worker and a great player with the right mentality and was an asset for County Upper Basketball Academy.
"As his college career has now finished it will be interesting to see how his professional career will take off.
"We have supported and helped him through his college career and look forward to continuing this support and guidance as he enters this next step of his career.
"It is great to have a player from our programme go on to achieve so many accolades in the USA, and a great role model for our younger players to follow."