Seth Hall rocking his Nottingham Hoods tracksuit. (Credit: Jordan Collins)

Nottingham’s semi-pro basketball team, the Hoods, signed a key player last September in Seth Hall, who comes all the way from Vancouver, Washington, USA.

Hall has arrived at the perfect time to help bolster the Hoods’ roster, fresh off promotion to the National Basketball League’s first division.

Whilst he is here, Seth is also completing a master’s degree in management at Nottingham Trent University on a scholarship.

Growing up, Seth didn’t only compete in basketball, as he also spent time playing baseball and American football.

“Basketball was where I had the most fun. I played on a couple of different teams, I started playing when I was about six or seven but it was only when I was about 15 or 16 when I was like, oh, I might be able to go play at [university] in the States.”

Hall played high school basketball at Hockinson High School before moving to Prairie High School for his final three years, where he earned First-Team All-Region, First Team All-League and the Greater Saint Helens League 3A Most Valuable Player honours.

Seth then took his talents to Lower Columbia College, a junior college in Washington where he led the Red Devils to back-to-back playoff appearances.

After his time at Lower Columbia, Seth was getting more highly recruited, even by some Division Two schools including Western Washington University.

However, Hall eventually settled on a Division Three school, Pacific Lutheran University (PLU).

“It was the perfect fit,” Seth said when asked why he chose PLU over a Division Two school.

“I had the opportunity, there was a winning culture over there that I was able to amplify, my heart was telling me PLU, and it worked out really well for me.”

Seth’s first season was abbreviated due to the Coronavirus outbreak, which caused the season to be paused and resumed several months later.

Despite not playing any games, Seth was still able to practice and improve his game.

Seth said: “Going through Covid and not being able to get in the gym really strengthened my mentality.

“It made me so grateful to get back in the gym. I remember when I got back in the gym, it was like a [heavenly angel choir singing] moment.

“I played so much one-on-one and it translated a ton. I was able to get to the basketball a lot easier.”

After the compromised season, Seth entered in his second and final year.

With the restrictions lifted, Seth picked up right where he left off; scoring his 1000th point in his last game, winning the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award and leading the Lutes to their first conference championship since 1986.

“That was a by-product of us having a really good season as a team. It was definitely one of the highlights of my college career.”

The team unfortunately bowed out in the first round of the playoffs, but Seth won conference player of the year and was named to the All-Conference team as well as competing in the Division Three All-Star game.

At this point, Seth had to decide whether he wanted to continue pursuing his basketball career or get a regular job.

“I knew I had film from the year, I knew I wanted to play [and] you can only play basketball for so long.

“I’m not going to play when I’m, like 30, so I figured I might try and play for as long as I can.”

On the back of his accolades, Seth gained plenty of buzz and received offers from the University of Durham, Loughborough University, a university in Rome and Nottingham Trent University.

“Coach Dan Watts [head coach of Nottingham Hoods and NTU’s first team] reached out to me,” said Seth.

“Pretty much from the start, I was thinking I was gonna come [to NTU]. The opportunity to play at university in the [BUCS] Premier League, playing pro ball and get some of my school paid for, it was a no-brainer, [so] I’m so glad I came.”

Seth’s arrival in the UK, his first time abroad besides a brief stint in Mexico, got off to a bumpy start however.

He was incredibly jet lagged due to the 31-hour stretch from the time he woke up in Washington to the time his head hit the pillow in Nottingham, with an eight-hour time difference doing nothing to help.

“My bank card wasn’t working and I didn’t have a SIM card. I was [desperate] for WiFi.

“It was a little bit of a shock [being in the UK]. It’s like I walked into a whole new world.”

With Seth’s help, Nottingham Hoods currently sit in fifth place in the NBL Division One table with seven wins and seven losses through their first 14 games while Nottingham Trent’s first team currently place third in their league.

Seth is averaging a team-leading 20.3 points a game for the Hoods and is in the top ten in shooting efficiency across the NBL.

Adapting to the British style of play has been a learning curve, though.

Seth said: “The speed of the game is faster, guys are stronger here. It’s been fun adapting to that [as] I’ve realised my game can translate over here.”

“Guys are bigger, faster and stronger so I can’t get all the way to the basket, so I have to stop a little bit short. The officiating here is a little bit different and they’re not giving an American a call, but they’ll give a British guy a call.

When asked about what has stood out to him about the UK so far, Seth said: “It’s not that big of a country, it’s literally the size of Washington and Oregon.

“It’s funny being surrounded by accents,” he added, “I have three great roommates [and] at this point we can banter back and forth, I make fun of their accent and they make fun of mine.”

Seth also has a list of UK slang on his phone that he’s constantly updating:

“I think it’s hilarious that you guys call French fries, chips and chips, crisps,” he said.

Seth has also had a chance to check out Nottingham’s infamous nightlife.

“We have some boys on the squad who definitely take advantage of the Nottingham Trent name of being the party university. After game days on Wednesdays, we usually go to Ocean.

“I feel like Ocean is such a lawless place, you walk in there, and you’re in a completely different world.”

Once his season in Nottingham is over, Seth wants to continue playing.

I’m definitely going to field offers and reach out to people. I’m not shutting it down after this year [and I’m] definitely keeping my options open.

“I’ll have my master’s done too, so it’s like, ‘when do I start pursuing a career when I can start making money?’ You don’t play basketball to make money, especially over here, you play basketball because you love basketball.”

Seth says he is also considering getting into coaching, but whatever he decides to do, what is for sure is that his time in Nottingham will be remembered by the Hoods and NTU.

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