Don't equate India's lack of international basketball success to a lack of potential talent: As some of the top late-bloomers in India have shown, it wasn't their talent which was lacking, it was only their timing. To create a revolution in Indian basketball and produce world-beaters from our country, we have to focus on identifying and training the players with the best upside as early as possible. For about a week in Nashik (Maharashtra), fans will get a chance to see the work put in to hone the craft of the youngest members of the Indian hoops fraternity. The Sub-Junior (Under-14) nationals is the youngest national-level basketball tournament in the country: From November 22-28, Nashik is hosting the 41st Sub-Jr National Basketball Championship for Boys and Girls. 27 boys' teams and 25 girls' teams gathered for tip off at the Meenathai Thakrey Stadium on Saturday.
The onus will be on Chhattisgarh - champions in both the boys' and girls' divisions at this tournament last year in Patna - to continue their dominating performances this year, too. Chhattisgarh's girls have won every Sub-Jr title since 2002 (12 in a row!), and last year, their boys' team joined in the celebrations, too. Madhya Pradesh will be another team to watch in both divisions while Tamil Nadu (Girls) and Rajasthan (Boys) have enjoyed stellar performances in this competition in the recent past. Hosts Maharashtra will be out to defend their home court, while this tournament will also mark the debut of Telengana - India's newest state born out of northern Andhra Pradesh - at the national basketball level as an independent team.
Participating teams at the 41st Sub-Jr National Basketball Championship
- Boys: Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Tripura, Karnataka, Mizoram, Telengana, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Delhi, Punjab, Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh.
- Girls: Assam, Bihar, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Telengana, Rajasthan, Goa, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Manipur, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Haryana, Gujarat.
- Chhattisgarh (Salim Ali 27) bt Andhra Pradesh (S. Syed 14) 75-57 (23-16, 16-12, 25-20, 11-9).
- Madhya Pradesh (Harshwarohan Tomar 21) bt Rajasthan 60-40 (12-8, 14-14, 18-14, 16-4).
- Odisha (Suresh Das 36) bt Uttar Pradesh 66-58 OT (9-17, 17-6, 22-15, 5-15, 13-5).
- Odisha (Papli Patra 14) bt Uttarakhand 41-25 (14-10, 2-4, 15-6, 10-5).
- Telengana bt Rajasthan 50-31 (13-12, 15-9, 13-4, 9-6).
- Kerala (Sreekala R 23) bt Karnataka 49-27 (12-8, 10-10, 10-5, 17-4).