The country of Canada is known as the birthplace of ice hockey and is home to many talented athletes who conquer on the ice. It’s also the birthplace of Eric Beckett ‘19, a three-year senior, promising athlete and student leader at Tilton School. A native of Ajax-Ontario, about 30 minutes east of Toronto, Beckett doesn’t score goals on the ice, but he does sink baskets on the court as a member of the Tilton School Boys’ Varsity Basketball team.
You may be wondering - why the strong hockey reference in a story about an international student basketball player? Besides the obvious Canadian connection, the sport of hockey has had quite the influence on Beckett’s journey to the court.
Beckett’s father, Reid, started out as a hockey player. After playing hockey for most of his adolescent life, his father transferred to a new middle school where he met Charmaine, Beckett’s mother, as well as his best friend and Beckett’s future godfather. His best friend was really into basketball, so Reid ended up ditching the puck for an orange ball in order to spend more time with his new best friend.
Reid Beckett went on to win multiple championships with an exceptional high school team, played at the Canadian university level and then on a professional basketball league in Iceland. Beckett’s middle name, Brynjar, is named for an Icelandic friend of his parents.
The family history and respect for the sport of basketball is evident in the player, student and humble individual that is Eric Beckett. After finishing his sophomore year at a Canadian high school, Beckett wasn’t satisfied with how his basketball season ended. One of his summer program coaches mentioned that schools in the NEPSAC were high caliber, not only for education but for athletics.
“I had no idea what the prep school lifestyle would be like. I went on the tours open-minded and willing to see what was going to happen. I toured Tilton in October 2016 and really liked this school the most. The campus, the teachers… all the teachers I met were talking to me like I was already one of their students.”
Beckett’s goal is to play at the Division 1 college level in America, so he knew relocating was in his future as more exposure to higher level play is given in American high schools. Although a necessary step toward achieving his dreams, it wasn’t an easy transition. When he arrived at Tilton, a new school in a new country, he was nervous and homesick. He felt a lack of confidence in this new world. As the season and school year started to progress, Beckett found his place on the court and began to feel more comfortable.
Read the full story in this year's edition of 1845: The Magazine of Tilton School.
*Editor's Note: Eric Beckett '19 has committed to the University of Vermont .