May 22, 2019

Haryana (Boys) and Kerala (Girls) take home the gold at the 2019 Youth Nationals in Coimbatore


India's biggest national under-16 basketball tournament - the 36th Youth (U16) National Basketball Championship for Boys and Girls - came to a conclusion in Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) on Tuesday, with Haryana (Boys) and Kerala (Girls) sitting atop the rankings. It was a major improvement for both these sides, as neither of them finished in the top three in last year's edition of the tournament.

Organised by the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) in association with the Tamil Nadu Basketball Association (TNBA), the Youth Nationals were held at the PSG College of Technology in Coimbatore from May 14-21, 2019. 26 teams each in the boys' and girls' divisions took part from all over the country.

Kerala were well-represented in the final stage, featuring a team in each of the two championship games on the day. In the boys' final, Kerala were halted in their tracks by Haryana and their star player Sahil Taya, who continued his impressive play as it had been through the course of the tournament with 31 points. His teammate Akshay added 17 to aid Haryana's 81-74 victory. Pranav Prince and Jim Paul Kothulil each scored 19 for Kerala in the loss.

Kerala's girls faced off in their final against hosts Tamil Nadu. Led by experienced youngster Ann Mary Zachariah's 40 points, Kerala were able to create the separation needed to win 80-69. Zachariah added to her strong form all tournament, coming on the back of her appearance at the NCAA Next Generation camp in the USA earlier this year. For TN, Sathya scored 31 points in a losing effort.

The high scorers in the finals for each of the winnings teams - Haryana's Sahil Taya and Kerala's Ann Mary Zachariah - were named the Best Players of the tournament.

Rajasthan won third place earlier in the day in both the boys' and girls' divisions. Rajasthan Boys were led by Digvijay Singh (36) and Amendra (23) in a 92-68 win over Karnataka. Karnataka's Achintya had a game-high 38 in the loss, while Manoj added 18.

Rajasthan's girls sneaked past Punjab in a low-scoring affair, 48-47, to win the bronze, led by Manvi Srivastava's 18 points. Harsimran Kaur, the Punjabi player who turned a lot of heads after her performances at the NBA Academy Women's camp earlier this year, had 29 her side.

Final Scores
  • Boys: Haryana (Sahil Taya 31, Akshay 17) bt. Kerala (Pranav Prince 19, Jim Paul Kothulil 19) 81-74.
  • Girls: Kerala (Ann Mary Zachariah 40) bt. Tamil Nadu (Sathya 31) 80-69.

Final Standings

Boys
  • 1. Haryana
  • 2. Kerala
  • 3. Rajasthan

Girls
  • 1. Kerala
  • 2. Tamil Nadu
  • 3. Rajasthan

May 19, 2019

Team India set for 2019 FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup in Changsha, China: Rosters, Schedule, and Preview


From new domestic leagues, successful grassroots programmes, and individual athletes making a name for themselves internationally, 3x3 Basketball has caught on like wildfire in India over the past few years. But when it came to participating in the continent's biggest 3x3 bonanza last year, Team India was marked 'absent'.

Now, they get to rectify their absence and make a comeback to the tournament in style.

The Basketball Federation of India (BFI) has announced four-member squads for India's senior men and women's squads, ready to take part in the 2019 FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup in Changsha, China, from May 22-26, 2019. The teams will be captained by Vishesh Bhriguvanshi and Raspreet Sidhu, and led by the Serbian coaching duo of Veselin Matic and Zoran Visic. Both Indian teams are currently in the Qualifying Draws and will have to win their first few games to qualify for the proper group stage.

India's Women won the first-ever instance of this tournament back in China in 2013. Last year, India did not participate, but two teams from Oceanis took home the golds, taking part in the Asian fray for the first time: Australia (Men) and New Zealand (Women). Both teams will be threats again in the tournament this year, along with the hosts China. Mongolia and Japan also finished in the top three of the Men's tournament last year and should hope to contend this time around, too.

Team India Rosters for 2019 FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup

Men
  • Vishesh Bhriguvanshi - captain
  • Arshpreet Singh Bhullar
  • Akilan Pari
  • Yadwinder Singh

Women
  • Raspreet Sidhu - captain
  • Bhandavya Hemmige Mahesha
  • Sreekala Rani
  • Shireen Limaye

For the Men's team, Bhriguvanshi will be looking to make up for lost time after spending much of the last two years rehabbing an ACL injury. He is India's best perimeter player, and has good understanding with the experienced forward Yadwinder Singh. Serbian Coach Veselin Matic only came to India a week ago to helm the men's basketball programme, and this will be his first international test. Matic's Serbian counterpart Zoran Visic will be the head coach of the women's team, and experienced Delhi baller Raspreet Sidhu will be expected to carry much of the squad's scoring load.

Groups

Men
  • Pool A: Japan, Turkmenistan, Jordan
  • Pool B: China, New Zealand, Qualifying Draw A 1
  • Pool C: Mongolia, Australia, Qualifying Draw B 1
  • Pool D: Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Qualifying Draw C 1
  • Qualifying Draw A: Qatar, Philippines, Iran, Samoa, Thailand
  • Qualifying Draw B: South Korea, India, Malaysia, Vanuatu
  • Qualifying Draw C: Kyrgyzstan, Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei, Vietnam

Women
  • Pool A: China, Australia, New Zealand
  • Pool B: Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan
  • Pool C: Japan, Sri Lanka Qualifying Draw A 1
  • Pool D: Iran, Turkmenistan, Qualifying Draw B 2
  • Qualifying Draw A: Philippines, Chinese Taipei, Vanuatu, Samoa
  • Qualifying Draw B: Malaysia, Maldives, Thailand, India

India's schedule in the Qualifying Draw - all timings IST

Men
  • May 22, 2019 - India vs. Malaysia - 11:30 AM
  • May 23, 2019 - India vs. Vanuatu - 10:30 AM
  • May 23, 2019 - South Korea vs. India - 12:20 PM

Women
  • May 22, 2019 - Malaysia vs. India - 12:40 PM
  • May 23, 2019 - Maldives vs. India - 06:10 AM
  • May 23, 2019 - India vs. Thailand - 07:40 AM

India will have to win their qualifying groups to have a chance for qualification. The men's team should be able to win their first two games but will face a tougher competition against South Korea. For the women, both Malaysia and Thailand will provide stiff challenge for India to finish at top.

If India win their groups, the Men's team will join Pool C with two podium finishers from last year, Mongolia and Australia. The women's team qualification would place them in women's Pool D with Iran and Turkmenistan.

May 18, 2019

Gurdial Singh: Hoopistani Indian Basketball Hall of Fame


Photo courtesy: punjabbasketball.org
Continuing to honour some of the early basketball legends, today's addition to the Hoopistani Indian Basketball Hall of Fame is Gurdial Singh.

Gurdial Singh played for Team India in the 1960s, becoming a part of the first teams to take part in the FIBA Asia Championship. He was also a part of the successful Services side from the 50s - along with stars like Sarbjit Singh - that won a number of National Championships. In 1968, Gurdial Singh was honoured with the Arjuna Award in Basketball.

After he passed away, a memorial basketball tournament in his honour has been held regularly at the school where Singh used to train, in Gurdaspur (Punjab).

May 17, 2019

Hoopdarshan Episode 77: Scott Flemming on NBA Academy India and India's National Basketball Team


The very first guest on Hoopdarshan, Scott Flemming, returns to India's premier basketball podcast in a new role. Flemming was arguably the most successful head coach of India's Men's basketball side, and now works as the Technical Director of the NBA Academy India in Greater Noida. In an in-depth interview with co-hosts Kaushik Lakshman and Karan Madhok, Flemming talked about the changing opportunities for India's top prospects, what India can do to turn around their recent slump, and the full inside story of the 'Turban-Ban' controversy from the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup.

Aside from a conversation that triggered the past, present, and future of Indian basketball, Kaushik and Karan also touched on the ongoing Youth Nationals in Coimbatore and give their predictions for the NBA Conference Finals.



Hoopdarshan is the truest 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!

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Satnam Singh ends first Canada NBL season with a Finals appearance


Sometimes, beauty lies in unpredictability. The type of unpredictability that presents new routes in one's journey, that takes one down unexpected new avenues, that turns the strive for a destination into a different, exciting journey.

For Satnam Singh, the dream destination has always been to play in the NBA. After his 'one in a billion' long-shot to go from a small Punjabi village to an IMG Academy scholarship in the USA, and then become the first Indian to be drafted into the NBA back in 2015, he reached unimaginable highs in his life. But the draft wasn't the end of his journey: instead of playing in the NBA, Satnam spent two seasons with the G-League's Texas Legends, then returned to India to play for the national team at the UBA League, and when a new route presented itself, he took the road into an unpredictable new direction: the St. John's Edge of Canada's NBL.

And that first season in St. John's went on - to Satnam's pleasant surprise - much longer than he had intended.

The St. John's Edge - founded only in 2017 - enjoyed their most successful NBL season yet, peaking to reach the league finals where they were swept by the league's strongest team - the Moncton Magic. The Magic ended the series with a 130-120 win in St. John's to win the series 4-0.

The Edge finished the NBL regular season with a second-place finish in the Central Division, and headed into the playoffs with a 21-19 record. In the playoffs, they beat the Sudbury Five 3-2 in the Division Semi-Finals and then beat the KW Titans 4-2 in the Division Finals. The Magic, however, proved to be the far superior squad in the one-sided Finals matchup.

Satnam played bit backup minutes for the team most of the season, behind former NBA player Glen 'Big Baby' Davis and other frontcourt threats like Jared Nickens, Russell Byrd and more. He ended the season averaging just five minutes per game, in which he averaged 2.1 ppg and 1.2 rpg on 54.7 percent shooting. He played 16 total minutes in the Finals - most of them in Game 1 - and tallied seven points.

It wasn't a groundbreaking development in any way, but the move to the NBL provided the 23-year-old 7-footer with another angle with which to approach his basketball career. His story has already inspired so many in India to chase their basketball dreams - now, he continues to show that there are more ways than the NBA to find professional basketball avenues.

May 15, 2019

India's National Youth (U16) National Basketball Championship 2019 tips off in Coimbatore


As many as 700 players young Indian basketball players, fresh faces set to be the future of Indian hoops, have gathered in Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) this week for the 36th Youth (U16) National Basketball Championship for Boys and Girls. The tournament tipped off in Tuesday and is scheduled to be held from May 14-21 at the PSG College of Technology indoor stadium in Coimbatore. It is being organised by the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) in association with the Tamil Nadu Basketball Association (TNBA).

In October last year, hosts Rajasthan (Boys) and Punjab (Girls) won the respective golds at the 2018 Youth National Basketball Championship in Udaipur. Rajasthan's Boys will again be among the favourites this year, along with strong units from Maharashtra and hosts Tamil Nadu. For the girls, watch out for all of last year's top three finishers - Punjab, Karnataka, and Maharashtra - to put on a good show.

This year's participating teams are:

    Girls
  • Level 1 - Group A: Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Delhi.
  • Level 1 - Group B: Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh.
  • Level 2 - Group C: Haryana, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh.
  • Level 2 - Group D: West Bengal, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Level 2 - Group E: Chandigarh, Assam, Jharkhand, Telangana.
  • Level 2 - Group F: Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Puducherry.

    Boys
  • Level 1 - Group A: Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi.
  • Level 1 - Group B: Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Punjab, Chhattisgarh.
  • Level 2 - Group C: Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh.
  • Level 2 - Group D: Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand.
  • Level 2 - Group E: West Bengal, Chandigarh, Jharkhand, Telangana.
  • Level 2 - Group F: Assam, Bihar, Odisha, Puducherry.

Boys' reigning champions Rajasthan started off their campaign in style on the first day of action, dismantling Delhi with a 85-29 scoreline. Hosts Tamil Nadu stumbled in their first match, losing to Haryana 82-65.

In the girls' division, Punjab began their claim for a repeat title with an exciting 74-69 win over Delhi. Last year's finalists Karnataka defeated Uttar Pradesh 63-36.

You can find the full schedule of games here.

May 13, 2019

NBA announces India's teams for 2019 Jr. NBA Global Championship


For the second consecutive year, two squads of talented junior players will represent India at the 2019 Jr. NBA World Championship, set to be held once again at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida from August 6-11, 2019. The 20-member contingent of Indian boys and girls will participate in this massive tournament against the top 13-14 year-old players from across the world.

The Jr. NBA Global Championship will feature boys and girls divisions, separated into USA and international brackets that begin with round-robin play and continue with single-elimination competition. The winners of the USA and international brackets will play in the global championship games on Aug. 11.

The 20 Indian players were chosen following a two-day selection camp at the NBA Academy India in Delhi NCR in late April, observed by Sacramento Kings player Harrison Barnes. The camp featured 40 participants in the 13-14 age group from the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA Skills Challenges, City Competitions and National Finals.

Sachin Yadav and Moumita Mishra will both return for their second appearance in the annual youth basketball tournament.

In the inaugural event last year, India's boys lost in the first elimination round to eventual international winners, Africa and Middle East. India's girls lost in the same stage to China.

India's teams for 2019 Jr. NBA World Championship

Boys
  • Sachin Yadav (Delhi)
  • Dev Premi (Mumbai)
  • Arnav Gupta (Bengaluru)
  • Pranav Varma (Hyderabad)
  • Karan Pashi (Kolkata)
  • Janmejay Singh (Chandigarh)
  • Md. Kaif (Varanasi)
  • Harsh Dagar (Delhi NCR)
  • Lokendra (Delhi NCR)
  • Kushal Singh (Varanasi)

Girls
  • Riccha Ravi (Mumbai)
  • Moumita Mishra (Bengaluru)
  • Jeevika Kumar (Chenna)
  • Manmeet Kaur (Punjab)
  • Irin Esla John (Kerala)
  • Osheen Singh (Jabalpur)
  • Bhumika Sarje (Pune)
  • Dhara Phate (Nagpur)
  • Shomira Bidaye (Nagpur)
  • Muskan Singh (Patna)