GORHAM, Maine – Recent University of Southern Maine graduate Zach Leal (York, Maine) formerly of the of University of Southern Maine Huskies' men's basketball team is continuing his playing career as a member of Team Newcastle University.
Leal, the 26th men's basketball player to record 1000 points in his career, committed to Team Newcastle University, and will be earning his Master's degree in International Business at the Tyne, England campus. In exchange for Leal's talents, Leal is earning a USA Athlete Scholarship, and several academic scholarships.
Team Newcastle University plays in the BUCS (British University & Colleges Sport) Division 1, which is roughly equivalent to NCAA Division I basketball, and was just recently promoted to play in the NBL Division 1, which is the second highest professional league in England behind the BBL (British Basketball League).
"A four-year standout, I'm excited for Zach and the opportunity he has to continue to pursue his basketball passion while furthering his education," noted veteran head coach and USM alumni Karl Henrikson. "Zach is a highly skilled athlete who has found ways to score throughout his career, and worked tirelessly on the defensive end of things; I am confident he will find success in his latest basketball endeavor. Team Newcastle is welcoming a tremendous competitor and leader."
Leal completed an outstanding career with the Huskies earning All-Little East Conference honors after averaging 17.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game while shooting 47.2 percent (141-for-299) from the field during the 2016-2017 season. Leal led the conference in minutes played (34.8 per game), and finished sixth in scoring, seventh in assists, ninth in steals, and ninth in blocked shots. Scoring in double figures in 20 of the Huskies' game, the 6-5 guard, established a career and season-high of 30 points against Bowdoin (November 29). Leal finished with 424 points, 116 rebounds, 67 assists, 33 steals and 22 blocked shots in his final season.
A three-time William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete as an electrical engineering major, Leal became just the 26th USM men's basketball player to surpass the 1000-point plateau totaling 1079 points, 365 rebounds, 209 assists, 118 steals and 57 blocked shots for a career average of 11.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. He is tied in Husky records for 15th in career games played, 23rd in career scoring, 12th in free throws made (256), and tied for fifth in career blocked shots.
From the team's press release on Leal's commitment, Leal stated, "I am excited to have the opportunity to play basketball overseas, and especially to join a successful Newcastle University program. I can't wait to arrive in Newcastle, meet my new teammates and coaches, and put in the hard work required to be a part of the team's winning tradition."
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