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Having severed his ties with student life, Ali Fraser has now joined the ranks of the unemployed, just another 20-year-old hoping for a lucky break and a step into the world of work.

Flexibility is in his favour. Offers from anywhere in Europe, and perhaps further afield, will be considered. For Scotland’s best basketball prospect, the world is very much his oyster.

Last month the towering Falkirk-born forward quit the University of Maine after three seasons on a sporting scholarship, eschewing some initial interest from elsewhere in the USA to book his return passage against the Atlantic. Tonight at Meadowbank comes his sporting homecoming when he turns out for Scotland in the first of two friendlies in successive days against England. Swapping exams for a salary, he says, was an easy option to take.

“I just didn’t fancy doing another year when I’d like to get started with my professional career,” Fraser said. “I can go back and finish my degree when I’m older.

“There were obviously good and bad points at Maine. I had to live away from home but I got to play at a high level against some very good teams. That was great. But I’d like to be closer to home and that was a big factor in the decision.”

ali fraserThe former Great Britain Under-20 internationalist will have ample options in mainland Europe where his agent is already touting his services. Although Glasgow Rocks have noted his availability, leagues in Germany, Poland or Italy seem the likeliest initial destination.

“I would like to go somewhere I’m going to play,” he insisted. “I don’t want to overshoot what I’m capable of. Making money is important but it’s not the number one priority. I want to be someone I’ll develop and get used to being there.”

It is a path already blazed by Greek-based forward Kieron Achara, another product of Falkirk Fury, who has also made himself available for the Edinburgh double-header as part of his preparations for Great Britain’s EuroBasket campaign. With the imposing pair in tandem amid Iain Maclean’s line-up, Fraser has forecast a shock.

“I’ll never go into a game with any other mindset than I’m going to win,” he said. “We’re capable of beating them. With the squad we have, I don’t see why we shouldn’t try and get one or both of the games.”


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