August 3, 2015

India win gold at South Asia 3x3 basketball championship, qualify for FIBA 3x3 World Tour

India's senior men’s team has been crowned champions in the 2015 3x3 South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) Qualifiers at Gateway College in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Sunday, August 2. Facing familiar opponents Colombo Sri Lanka Reds in the finals, whom they had lost to a day earier in the league stages, India showed great heart and courage to dominate the Islanders at home 21-10.

The day began with India dominating Nepal 20-10 in a must win last league match to qualify to the semifinals as the second seeded team. In the semis, India continued its strong form to beat Sri Lanka Blacks 18-10, before powering through to a 21-10 finals victory.

An excited Siddhant Shinde said after the gold medal finish, “We did it for the 1.24 billion people of India. We hope this inspires the youth of the nation to take up basketball.” As South Asia winners, the four man squad comprising Shinde, Basil Philip, Rajesh Uppar and Jeevanantham Pandi, has now qualified for the 3x3 World Tour which will be held on 15th and 16th August 2015 in Beijing, China. 

The Indian senior men’s basketball team participated in the 3x3 South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) Qualifiers 2015 in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 1st and 2nd August 2015. The four member team comprised Basil Philip (Kerala), Rajesh Uppar (Karnataka), Siddhant Shinde (Maharashtra) and Jeevanantham Pandi (Tamil Nadu) flew out of Bengaluru to Colombo on 31st July morning, and will return to Bengaluru on 3rd August 2015. 

August 1, 2015

India's 3x3 Men's squad in Sri Lanka for South Asia qualifiers of 2015 3x3 World Tour

India's Senior 3x3 Men's basketball squad is currently in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to take part in the South Asia qualifiers for the 2013 3x3 World tour. The South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) championship are being held on August 1-2 in Colombo. The winning team will qualify for the 2015 3x3 World Tour, set to be held in Beijing (China) on August 15-16.

Team India roster consists of four players - three to start and one substitute.

  • Basil Philip (Kerala)
  • Rajesh Uppar (Karnataka)
  • Siddhant Shinde (Maharashtra)
  • Jeevanantham Pandi (Tamil Nadu)
India didn't participate in the inaugural 3x3 SABA championship, which was held in Bangladesh last year and won by the hosts.

Basil Philip has made it to the Indian team for the second time, after representing the national side during the 2013 SABA 5x5 Championship in New Delhi. The remaining three, Uppar, Shinde and Jeevanantham are all first timers in the senior side.

"3x3 is a fast paced game in which Indian players have a chance to compete against the top countries in the world as we develop the 5x5 version of the sport," said Chander Mukhi Sharma, Secretary General of the BFI. "This is a great opportunity for these players and if they compete hard and win, they'll have the opportunity to play in China for even more and greater exposure."

Elaborating further, BFI President K Govindaraj said, "We wanted to give these four players, who worked extremely hard during the coaching camp prior to SABA, the chance to obtain valuable international experience. They didn't make the SABA 5x5 team but all four are young, talented and extremely hard working. They will certainly be part of future Indian teams and this will be valuable exposure for all of them."

Participating Teams: Sri Lanka Blacks, Maldives, Sri Lanka Whites, Colombo BC, Avant BC, Sri Lanka Blues, Nepal, Sri Lanka Reds, India, Colombo Bulls.

India's Schedule
  • Aug 1: 11 AM - India vs. Sri Lanka Blues.
  • Aug 1: 4 PM - Sri Lanka Reds vs. India.
  • Aug 1: 6 PM - Avant BC vs. India.
  • Aug 2: 9 AM - India vs. Nepal.

Semi-Finals and Finals are scheduled 5 PM onwards on August 2.

July 31, 2015

Six Indian coaches chosen for Basketball Without Borders programme in South Africa

It's the summer of Africa for the NBA. Many of the league's heavyweights - players, coaches, and the commissioner - are in South Africa for the first-ever exhibition game in the continent, set to be held between 'Team Africa' and 'Team World' tomorrow in Johannesburg. The NBA continues to expand its borders and continues to prove that basketball can truly transcend all languages, cultures, and continents.

And India are tasting some of that potjiekos, too.

The NBA has selected six coaches from India to take part in the 13th Basketball Without Borders (BWB) programme at the American International School of Johannesburg, South Africa from July 29 - August 1. The troop of coaches are being guided by Carlos Barroca, the Senior Director of NBA India.

The coaches Mal Singh from Guru Harkishan Das Public School (Ludhiana), Jeevan Raj from CMS Public School (Kochi), Varun Ahlawat from Delhi Public School, Vasundhara (New Delhi), Anahita Gupta from Modern School for Girls (Kolkata), Digambar Mali from Fr. Agnels School, Vashi (Mumbai) and Udhayakumar from Lady Andal Venkatasubbarao High School (Chennai) have been selected for the programme. Their selection was made on the basis of number of students they engaged, the number of basketball led classes they conducted and their overall involvement with the program.

"The teachers did a great job in India and are here at BWB Africa to continue to learn and enhance their basketball training skills with the best coaches/trainers from around the world," said Barroca, "They will also view the NBA Africa Game - which will be a once in a lifetime experience for them."

While the eyes of most of the world will be on Chris Paul, Luol Deng, the Gasol brothers, and other current and former stars at the NBA Africa Game, the BWB programme will prove that the NBA is invested in not only promoting the very best that the sport has to offer, but also to help develop basketball at the grassroots level. The exchange of international coaching ideas and the vibrant energy in Johannesburg is sure to help these Indian coaches; hopefully, they can pass on that energy, the fundamentals, and the coaching styles that they learn to students back home in India.

July 30, 2015

Chennai Slam win inaugural season of UBA Basketball League in Hyderabad

Large crowds of fans cheered on from the bleachers. Bollywood and TV celebrities watched from the sideline. And on the court, talented basketball players provided a unique stage never been set in India before.

And after two weeks of basketball featuring players and teams from all over the nation, the final turned out to be a triumphant day for the Chennai Slam, who brushed aside the Pune Peshwas to be crowned champions of the 2015 UBA Basketball League at the Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday, July 30.

The Universal Basketball Alliance - UBA India - brought together eight teams from around India for two weeks of this unique initiative, a short professional basketball league in a country that has never had an official pro league before. Tipped off on July 17, the participating teams came from Chennai, Pune, Punjab, Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Haryana, and the hosts Hyderabad to play in a round-robin fashion league before the knockout semi-final/final stage in the last two days.

Although Chennai and Pune had split their league games 1-1, the final was a completely one-sided affair. Chennai were precise and perfect, the exact opposite of some careless and nervous play displayed by their opponents, to take a 14-point lead at halftime and extended it 20 soon after to turn the game into a blowout early. When the dust settled, Chennai had won 81-49 and lifted the first-ever title at the inaugural league. The Slam's trio of the Nigerian Chukwunanu Agu (22), Bernette Carmel Joseph (21), and Ramkumar (19) did most of the scoring damage for the victors.

Indian actor Vidyut Jamwal one of the special guests at the finale and distributed the medals to the players during the prize distribution ceremony. Also present were senior UBA executives such as Tommy Fisher (major UBA shareholder and President and CEO of USA-based construction company Fisher Industries), Richard Whelan, Sunday Zeller (Founders and Co-CEOs, UBA), Tausif Sheikh (Managing Director, UBA India) and Deepesh Solanki (CEO, UBA India). Other dignitaries for the final match included noted artists from the Telengana film fraternity.

Winners Chennai Slam were awarded with a cash prize of INR 7 lakhs along with their gold medals. First runners up Pune Peshwas secured the silver medals and a cash prize of INR 3 lakhs. Haryana Gold won the 2nd runners up trophy owing to their superior league stage record over the Punjab Steelers.

The MVP of the tournament was Punjab Steelers forward Ravi Bhardwaj, who put up consistent numbers throughout the tournament. He won a Hyosung GTR superbike along with the MVP trophy.

Chennai's final triumph was in the making as they revved up and gained momentum the further they went into the tournament. At the semi-final stage just a day earlier, they unleashed a scoring barrage on the Punjab Steelers to win 92-77. Despite being down by four in the first quarter, Chennai bounced back to take the lead before halftime and stuck to it till the game concluded. Vignesh Prabhu (24) and Ramkumar (19) were the top scorers for Chennai while Sartaj Sandhu (28) and Ravi Bhardwaj (20) did the scoring damage in a losing effort for Punjab. The second semi-final was a thriller between the Pune Peshwas and the Haryana Gold which came down to the last shot, a go-ahead three by Karna Mehta with eight seconds left that gave Pune an 81-80 victory and a ticket to the final. The game was neck-to-neck until the final play and provided a thrilling shootout between Ajinkya Mane (26) of Pune and Vikas Mor (27) of Haryana.

Final Standings
  • 1. Chennai Slam
  • 2. Pune Peshwas
  • 3. Haryana Gold
All-Star Team
  • TJ Sahi (Bengaluru Beast)
  • Karan Joshua (Bengaluru Beast)
  • Chukwunanu Agu (Chennai Slam)
  • Ramkumar (Chennai Slam)
  • Bernette Carmel Joseph (Chennai Slam)
  • Birender Singh (Haryana Gold)
  • Vikas Kumar (Haryana Gold)
  • Rakesh Sangwan (Haryana Gold)
  • Sartaj Sandhu (Punjab Steelers)
  • Ravi Bhardwaj (Punjab Steelers) - MVP
  • Karan Pal Singh (Mumbai Challengers)
  • P. Vijay (Pune Peshwas)
  • Ajinkya Mehta (Pune Peshwas)
  • Ajinkya Mane (Pune Peshwas)
  • Yudhvir Dahiya (Delhi Capitals)
  • Arsh Deep Saini (Delhi Capitals)
  • Aaditya Raj (Delhi Capitals)
  • Nihal Yadav (Hyderabad Sky)
  • Sujith Reddy (Hyderabad Sky)
The above players will be awarded 1-year professional playing contracts worth $100,000 for the next season of the league. Each individual player contract shall be worth $5,000, out of which $4,000 will be the player’s salary and the remaining will cover the expenses on gear and other training equipment. The didn't feature any of the most-recognizable or top talents in India, the players who more likely to be seen in the Senior National championships or donning the India jersey in international games.

This is still a league in its early stage, and most of the players who have been given an opportunity here have likely graduated up from the University league held by UBA India earlier. Still, it was a fun event and showcased that India has a lot more basketball to offer than the 'official' events governed by the Basketball Federation of India (BFI).

Hoopdarshan Episode 13: The Making of Indian basketball's finest, Amjyot Singh

One of India's most talented basketball players, 22-year-old Chandigarh boy Amjyot Singh's skills made him a regular starter for India's national team, gave him a pivotal role in India's historic win over China last year, and brought him a pro contract to play in Japan. In Episode 13 of Hoopdarshan - the first podcast on Indian Basketball - Amjyot joins hosts Kaushik Lakshman and Karan Madhok in a candid conversation about his starring role for Team India, his experiences playing in Japan, facing FIBA's 'No Headgear' policy as a Sikh player, and listening to romantic slow jams before big games.

First promoted to India's Senior Men's team in 2011, 6-foot-9 Amjyot has played a huge role for India at every major international tournament since, including the 2011 and 2013 FIBA Asia Championships, the 2012 Stankovic Cup (where he was captain), and the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup. Amjyot became one of two first Indian male players to play pro internationally, when he and Amrit Pal Singh joined Hyogo Impulse of Japan's BJ Summer League. Back home in India, he plays for IOB in Chennai. He was named one of the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship players to watch by FIBA, and he spoke to us on the podcast about his growing role for India, his ambitions to become one of the best in Asia, and going head-to-head with India's NBA draftee, Satnam Singh.

Hoopdarshan aims to be the true voice of Indian basketball, and since we're such hopeless fans of the game, it will become the voice of everything basketball related we love, from the NBA to international hoops, too. On every episode of Hoopdarshan, we will be inviting a special guest to interview or chat to about a variety of topics. With expert insight from some of the brightest and most-involved people in the world of Indian basketball, we hope to bring this conversation to a many more interested fans, players, and followers of the game.

Make sure to follow Hoopdarshan on Soundcloud or search for 'Hoopdarshan' on the iTunes Store! Auto-sync Hoopdarshan to your preferred podcast app NOW!

Hoopdarshan can be found on...

    July 28, 2015

    Chennai schools win 1st Mamannan Raja Raja Cholan Cup All India Invitational School Basketball Tournament in Thanjavur

    The 1st-ever Mamannan Raja Raja Cholan Cup All India Invitational School Basketball Tournament concluded in Thanjavur (Tamil Nadu) on Sunday, July 26, with home-state Chennai teams lifting the trophies in both the boys and the girls divisions. The tournament, organized by the Manannan Raja Raja Cholan Rural Basketball Development Trust (MRRCRBT), was held from July 22-26 and featured school teams (under-19) from all over the country for five days of basketball action.

    Velammal Matric Higher Secondary School (Boys) and Santhome Higher Secondary School (Girls) - both from Chennai - won the 2015 Mamannan Raja Raja Cholan Cup. Minister for Housing and Urban Development of the Government of Tamil Nadu R. Vaithilingam was the chief guest at the tournament's closing ceremony.

    MRRCRBT is a volunteer based non-profit trust committed to provide and assist unprivileged students to build a strong foundation, personal character, self-confidence, and self-esteem to reach their potential through comprehensive high intensity practices, competitive league, and high caliber tournament games. They have been holding rural basketball events in Thanjavur since 2007.

    July 27, 2015

    USA wins 6th consecutive gold at 2015 FIBA U19 Women’s World Championship

    Different group of young stars, same result.

    While the home crowd at Chekhov provided hosts Russia the boost they needed to end the American’s dominance, the USA eventually pulled away in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter to capture their sixth consecutive gold medal at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Basketball Championship for Women. USA’s A’ja Wilson turned out to be the hero of the night, scoring 30 points along with eight rebounds to help her side stun the Russian home crowd.

    Click here to read my full article on SportsKeeda.