June 13, 2018

Hoopdarshan Episode 64: EXCLUSIVE - Amjyot Singh opens up about BFI ban and his disillusionment with Indian Basketball


Last week, the Basketball Federation of India dropped a bombshell, banning Indian basketball players Amjyot Singh and Palpreet Singh Brar for 1-year based on alleged indiscipline by both players. On Episode 64 of Hoopdarshan, Amjyot Singh tells his side of the story to Kaushik Lakshman and Karan Madhok, addressing all of the federation's allegations, his relationship with his coaches and teammates, and his state-of-mind looking forward as he prepares for the NBA Summer League workouts.

Originally hailing from Chandigarh, Amjyot Singh has been one of India's top players for the past six years, has been the national team's captain in the past, and played professionally abroad with the OKC Blue of the NBA G-League and with the Tokyo Excellence of Japan's D-League. He most-recently represented India at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in April.



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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June 5, 2018

Indian prospects Princepal Singh, Amaan Sandhu, and Aashay Verma attended NBA Global Camp in Italy



Just days after rounding up the Basketball Without Borders Asia camp in Greater Noida, some of India's top youth basketball prospects headed international with an eye towards bigger things: the upcoming NBA Draft. Dozens of players from around the world were listed to attend the NBA Global Camp 2018 in Treviso, Italy, a pre-Draft showcase for top Draft-eligible prospects from outside the USA. Future Indian stars Princepal Singh, Amaan Sandhu (both from NBA Academy India) and Aashay Verma (NBA Global Academy - Australia) were among the prospects at the Camp at the La Ghirada Sports Center in Treviso from June 2-5.

The camp included team interview sessions, five-on-five games, shooting drills, and strength and agility testing in front of representatives from all 30 NBA teams, all under the direction of NBA personnel. The Indian players were invited as part of a series of scrimmages among prospects from NBA Academies, the league’s network of elite basketball training centres around the world.

The three Indian players representing India presented a tantalising combination of youth and size: Princepal Singh (17, 6'10"), Aashay Verma (19, 7'1"), Amaan Sandhu (15, 6'9"). Princepal and Sandhu are from Punjab while Verma originally hails from Hyderabad. Princepal is probably the most experienced of the trio, already having starred for India and Punjab at the junior and youth stages and taken part in several international camps already. Verma has been improving dramatically in Australia over the past few years and was invited to a Basketball Without Borders global camp in the past. Sandhu is the baby of the group but has the size to hopefully develop into a dominating player in the future.

A handful of other Asian players also took part in the scrimmages in Italy.

June 2, 2018

2018 Basketball Without Borders Asia concludes in Greater Noida; India's Sanjana Ramesh named camp MVP!


With the best junior players from around Asia/Oceania in attendance, playing on the country's best basketball facilities, coached by Indian basketball stars, NBA and WNBA players, and world-class coaches, the 2018 Basketball Without Borders Asia Camp was held in India for just the second time from May 29-June 1. The fourth and final day of BWB Asia 2018 concluded in thrilling fashion as the 66 campers from 16 countries and territories in Asia-Pacific competed in championship games and a pair of All-Star games.

And at the end, one of the brightest shining stars was India's own Sanjana Ramesh. The Bengaluru girl stood brightest among her competitors at the camp and was awarded the camp Most Valuable Player (MVP) trophy on Friday. In the boys' division, the MVP award was given to Rence Forthsky from the Philippines.

Corey Brewer (Oklahoma City Thunder), Caris LeVert (Brooklyn Nets), Kelly Olynyk, (Miami Heat), Dwight Powell (Dallas Mavericks), two-time WNBA Champion Ruth Riley, and former WNBA player Ebony Hoffman will coach the top high-school age campers from throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Indian basketball stars like Satnam Singh and Amjyot Singh also took part in the coaching efforts. Also in attendance was Coach Scott Flemming, former head coach of India's national men's team and currently the head of NBA India Basketball Operations.

The camp got underway in the morning with the girls championship game between the New York Liberty and the Minnesota Lynx. Coached on the sidelines by Ruth Riley and Sakshi Sheoran, the Lynx defeated the Liberty 20-13. Paige Price from Australia led the Lynx with a game-high 7 points.

The boys championship game then followed, with the Milwaukee Bucks going up against the Brooklyn Nets. Led by coaches Darvin Ham and Satnam Singh, the Bucks edged past the Bret Brielmaier and Caris LeVert led Nets team 22-18. Samuel Jenkins from New Zealand scored 8 points in the winning effort.

At the conclusion of the championship games, the two boys and two girls All-Star teams were announced. Team Red of the girls All-Star team was coached by Ruth Riley, while Ebony Hoffman served as coach for Team White. Team Red defeated Team White 27-18, with Dan Zhao from China leading her teamto victory with 8 points.

Following that, the boys All-Star Game was played between Team Red(coached by Bret Brielmaier, Caris LeVert, Darvin Ham and Satnam Singh) and Team White (coached by Ryan Saunders, Mike Wells and Corey Brewer). Team Red emerged with the 39-37 win thanks to a team-high 8 points from bothClancey Bird and Mac Stodart.

During a break in the boys All-Star game, the boys and girls 3-point champions took part in fun shooting games. Boys 3-point champion Amir Hossein from Iran went up against Caris LeVert, while girls 3-point Champion Indiah Bowyer from Australia competed against Ebony Hoffman.

"I have not only improved as a basketball player but also as an individual," said Forthsky. "The focus here was on your overall development at the personal and professional level, and I am glad to have won MVP at the end of all of it."

"Whatever I have learnt here playing with international players and coaches I am going to take that back and share the knowledge with my fellow players," said Ramesh. "Basketball is my life and these four days at the camp were the best I have had in my life."

Indian players Rajvi Desai, Suniskha Karthik, Sreekala Rani, Pushpa Senthil Kumar, Siya Deodhar, Grishma Niranjan, Khushi Dongre, Sanjana Ramesh, Priyanka Behal, Harshwardhan Tomar, and Princepal Singh made the All Star teams on the camp's final day. Yadav won the Girls Grit Award at the camp, too.

List of Awards:

  • Boys Grit Award: Taine Murray (New Zealand)
  • Girls Grit Award: Vaishnavi Yadav (India)
  • High-Flyer Award: Lachlan Joseph Bofinger (Australia)
  • Boys 3-Point Champion: Amir Hossein (Iran)
  • Girls 3-Point Champion: Indiah Bowyer (Australia)
  • Boys All-Star Game MVP: Chen Chiang-Shuan (Chinese-Taipei)
  • Girls All-Star Game MVP: Dan Zhao (China)
  • Boys MVP: Rence Forthsky (Philippines)
  • Girls MVP: Sanjana Ramesh (India)

Ramesh's MVP trophy was a repeat of a similar feat achieved by Vishesh Bhriguvanshi at the last BWB Asia event in India in 2008. Bhriguvanshi was the MVP of that camp in New Delhi and went on to become India's best backcourt player and a national team captain. Hopefully, this award is a sign of greater things to come for Ramesh, Yadav, and the other top Indian performers at this camp.

BWB Asia 2018 was receded by a first-ever basketball development camp May 27 – 29 for the 18 female prospects from throughout India as part of The NBA Academies Women’s Program. 1996 Olympic Gold Medallist and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame member Jennifer Azzi, Riley and former college coach Blair Hardiek – the global technical directors for women’s programming across the league’s seven academies – oversaw this camp. India's starlets Ramesh and Yadav shared the co-MVP awards at this event.

May 31, 2018

Customs (Chennai) and KSEB (Thiruvanathapuram) win 2018 All India Basketball Tournaments in Coimbatore


The five-day invitational basketball tournaments in Coimbatore - Nachimuthu Gounder Cup for Men and 17th CRI Pumps Trophy for Women - came to a conclusion on Thursday, May 31, with victories for Customs (Chennai) and KSEB (Thiruvanathapuram) in the Men's and Women's tournaments respectively.

Top club teams from around India were invited for these prestigious tournaments, featuring eight Men's teams and and eight Women's teams. The tournaments were organised by the Coimbatore District Basketball Association (CBDA).

Customs beat Indian Railways 69-63 in the Men's final of this 53rd All-India Championship, led by Hari Ram (26).

In the women's section, KSEB beat Eastern Railway (Kolkata) 59-43 in the final.

NBA Academy's first-ever Women's Camp concludes in India with MVP awards for Sanjana Ramesh and Vaishnavi Yadav


Last year, the NBA launched its first-ever elite basketball Academy in India - at the Jaypee Greens Integrated Sports Complex in Greater Noida - with the mission to train and educate the top young prospects from the country. The first year of the Academy housed a few dozen players in the facility, who received world-class coaching and took part in several major basketball tournaments. But all these players were young boys, while their female counterparts still waited for their opportunity.

This week, the Academy took a major step forward with a programme for some of the best young female prospects in India. The first-ever NBA Academy Women’s camp was held at the facility in Greater Noida from May 27-29, featuring international women's basketball legends, coaches, and Indian basketball stars in attendance. The camp concluded on Tuesday, May 29 with a championship game between 'Team Liberty' and 'Team Sparks', won by Liberty 18-8.

After the game, Sanjana Ramesh of Bengaluru and Vaishnavi Yadav from Allahabad were named the camp's Co-MVPs. Other award-winners included Siya Deodhar (Most Improved Player), Grishma Niranjan (Sharp Shooter), Rajvi Desai (Defensive Player), Pushpa Senthil Award (Sportsmanship and Leadership Skills) and Khushi Dongre (Best Teammate).

For the past three days, the 18 top female prospects from across India received training from 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame member Jennifer Azzi, 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist and two-time WNBA Champion Ruth Riley, former WNBA player Ebony Hoffman and former college coach Blair Hardiek, along with former Indian women’s basketball team captain Divya Singh.

"These three days have been the best of my life," said Ramesh. "Honestly, every player here is an MVP. We all have improved and I am really grateful to win this award. The camp has taught us so much about team spirit and unity and that’s something that I am going to take back from here."

"It’s a dream come true to win this award, especially in a camp organised by the NBA," said Yadav. "The three days here have taught me so much more than I have learnt in past. I am pretty sure I will only improve as a player from here on."

Starting on Wednesday, the Academy will host the 2018 Basketball Without Borders Asia camp for 66 participants from 16 countries across Asia. A number of former NBA/WNBA players, international coaches, and Indian basketball stars will assist with this event. The 18 prospects from the Women's camp are also set to remain at the Academy to take part in BWB 2018.

May 30, 2018

Hoopdarshan Episode 63: Warriors-Cavaliers Part IV Preview with Thejas Balaraman


The entire lifetime of Hoopdarshan - India's top basketball podcast - has had a singular inevitability: Warriors vs. Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. For the fourth consecutive time, the two franchises meet again, meaning more Steph, more LeBron, more Durant, and Klay and Green(s), and Love and even JR & Swaggy P! Kaushik Lakshman and Karan Madhok invite Episode 63 guest Thejas Balaraman to wrap-up the Conference Finals & make our predictions for the Finals ahead!



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!

Hoopdarshan can be found on...

May 24, 2018

NBA/WNBA players and coaches will lead camp 2018 Basketball Without Borders Asia camp in Delhi-NCR. 25 Indian youngsters to take part


The National Basketball Association (NBA), International Basketball Federation (FIBA), and Basketball Federation of India (BFI) recently joined hands to announce that the 2018 Basketball Without Borders Asia camp is set to be held in the Delhi-NCR region from May 30-June 2, 2018. On Thursday, the NBA announced a list of six NBA/WNBA players, additional professional coaches, and 66 participating players from 16 countries across Asia - including 25 Indian boys and girls - who will take part in this prestigious camp, set to be held in the NBA Academy India in Greater Noida.

This is the second time - after 2008 - that the BWB Asia camp is being held in India, and it's the 10th overall BWB Asia camp. Nike will serve as the official partner of the camp.

Corey Brewer (Oklahoma City Thunder), Caris LeVert (Brooklyn Nets), Kelly Olynyk, (Miami Heat), Dwight Powell (Dallas Mavericks), two-time WNBA Champion Ruth Riley, and former WNBA player Ebony Hoffman will coach the top high-school age campers from throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

BWB Asia 2018 will feature two current prospects from NBA Academies, the league’s signature elite player development initiative that consists of a network of elite basketball training centers around the world for top male and female prospects from outside the USA. Since October 2016, NBA Academies have been launched in Canberra, Australia; Jinan, Urumqi and Zhuji, China; Delhi NCR, India; Mexico City, Mexico; and Thies, Senegal.

Players and coaches will lead the campers through a variety of activities on and off the court, including movement efficiency, positional skill development, shooting and skills competitions, 5-on-5 games, and daily life skills seminars focusing on health, leadership and communication. One boy and one girl will be named BWB Asia 2018 MVPs at the conclusion of the four-day camp. In the 2008 camp in Delhi, the boy's MVP was India's Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, who has since become one of India's most important players and has captained the senior squad in numerous international tournaments.

BWB Asia 2018 will be preceded by a basketball development camp May 27 – 29 for the 18 female prospects from throughout India as part of The NBA Academies Women’s Program. 1996 Olympic Gold Medallist and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame member Jennifer Azzi, Riley and former college coach Blair Hardiek – the global technical directors for women’s programming across the league’s seven
academies – will oversee the camp.

BWB Asia 2018 and The NBA Academies Women’s Programme camp will also include a variety of NBA Cares and Jr. NBA community outreach efforts with youth in New Delhi in partnership with local community organisations, including basketball clinics for more than 150 youth from the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program and the NBA Basketball Schools in New Delhi. These programmes will highlight the power of sport to promote cultural understanding while teaching the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle and the values of the game, including teamwork, respect, determination and community.

Current NBA assistant coaches Bret Brielmaier (Nets), Darvin Ham (Atlanta Hawks), Ryan Saunders (Minnesota Timberwolves), and Mike Wells (Utah Jazz) will also serve as BWB Asia 2018 coaches. Patrick Hunt (President of the World Association of Basketball Coaches; Australia) will be the camp director. Casey Smith (Mavericks) will serve as the camp’s athletic trainer.

The NBA revealed the list of 66 players from 16 countries in Asia/Oceania - 40 boys and 26 girls - who have been invited to the camp next week. The participating Indian players are:

  • Girls: Khushi Ahlawat, Riya Baliyan, Priyanka Behal, Siya Deodhar, Rajvai Desai, Khushi Dongre, Monica Jayakumar, Annmariya Johny, Sunishka Kartik, Neha Karva, Grishma Niranjan, Sanjana Ramesh, Radha Rani, Sreekala Rani, Pushpa Senthil Kumar, Asmat Taunque, Vaishnavi Yadav, Ann Mary Zacariah.
  • Boys: Princepal Singh, Amaan Sandhu, Prashant Tomar, Harpreet Singh, Priyanshu, Harshwardhan Tomar, Pritish Kokate.

All of the Indian girls in the programme are also participants in the NBA Academies Women's Programme. Many of these young women have already made a mark for India in the youth stage, such as Pushpa Senthil Kumar who captained the national squad in the U16 FIBA Asia Championship for Women last year and Vaishnavi Yadav, who was the MVP of the recent Junior Nationals in Ludhiana. In the boys' fray, Princepal Singh and Amaan Sandhu are both NBA Academy India prospects. Princepal, Prashant Tomar, Harshwardhan Tomar, Priyanshu, and Kokate have all represented India in junior/youth international competitions.

Other BWB camps are planned this year in Serbia and South Africa.