PMHS graduate Jack Cork makes team of week playing in England’s NBL Division I

Newcastle Knights basketball. Credit -  Burley Sekem Apparel

Newcastle Knights basketball. Credit – Burley Sekem Apparel

Jack Cork, a 2016 PMHS graduate and Haverford College basketball standout, moved to England last year to play professional ball for the Newcastle Knights while getting his MBA. He immediately faced a Covid-19 lockdown and other impacts of the pandemic.

“It was pretty tough as the country went into a second lockdown,” Cork said. “I’ve watched a lot of Netflix. Although we were allowed to keep playing basketball, which was really awesome. It was a great outlet and took up a lot of my time.”

Even with the pandemic, Cork is succeeding with the Knights. He made the NBL Division 1 team of the week on April 6.

Cork played all four years at Haverford, and in his last year, he led his team to the conference tournament for the first time in ten years.

“The first thing that stood out to me is the level of play is higher in NBL Division 1,” he said. “Another big difference is that this is a national league, and we play games all across the country. In college, I really only played games against teams that were very regional.”

Hoops doesn’t have the same role in sports in England as it does in the U.S.

“Basketball is much more popular in America than it is in England,” Cork said. “A lot of the arenas that we play in are much smaller than basketball venues in the states. Although when I first came to England, I did not expect anyone to care about basketball at all, but I’ve found out there are many people with a passion for basketball in England.”

The Knights were promoted from division 2 to division 1 this season and faced tougher competition. Despite this step up, Cork and his team finished fifth in the overall standings.

In addition to basketball success, Cork is also obtaining his graduate degree in banking and finance.

“My course is currently entirely online as well, which I found to be a lot more difficult.” he said. “I think my experience at Haverford really helped me prepare for this as it helped teach me important time-management skills. The lockdown also provided me with a lot of extra free time to devote to school.”