February 11, 2016

UBA holds selection trials for second season of their basketball league in Bengaluru

Last summer, the Universal Basketball Alliance of India (UBA India) introduced a unique new competition to the annual Indian basketball calendar. For two weeks in July, UBA brought together eight different teams representing major Indian cities to Hyderabad for a short-term basketball league. Although the first-of-its-kind experiment didn't attract India's cream of the crop basketball talent, it provided a strong alternative for hoop hopefuls looking for a payday in a country that still doesn't have a full-size national professional basketball league.

Boosted by the success of its first season, UBA are now set to launch Season 2 of their basketball league on February 18. In preparation for the second season, UBA held selection tryouts at the Jain International Residential School in Bengaluru earlier this week with 195 young players from all over India to form new squads before the league tips off.

Foreign trainers from the US, along with highly respected senior Indian coaches, evaluated the players on a number of parameters by putting them through a series of gruelling sessions. After selection trials in Bengaluru, this year's UBA Basketball League will be divided into two phases of games, in Pune and Hyderabad. The newly formed squads will travel to Pune for the first phase of the Pro League, to be held at the Chhattrapati Shivaji sports complex in Balewadi from February 18-28. The second & final phase will be held at the Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad between March 21 - April 3. UBA Season 2 will be telecast live on Ten Sports, another first in the history of Indian basketball.

Having the league in two phases allows more fans to witness the star players in action, and also gives teams time to prepare and strategise for the second phase. The eight teams from last year— Pune Peshwas, Hyderabad Sky, Chennai Slam (the reigning champions from the 2015 season) Punjab Steelers, Bengaluru Beast, Delhi Capitals, Haryana Gold and Mumbai Challengers— are back again this time around. The teams will be divided into North and South divisions, and each team will play four games: three against their division opponents and one cross-division match.

"Season 1 was about exploring possibilities and seeing what we could do to create opportunities for players," said UBA India Director Deepesh Solanki. "Now that a platform has been built, the next step is to successfully implement what we have planned."

"We are happy to see that kids are finally dreaming of being pros and having their own Indian basketball heroes to look up to. Instead of following Lebron they will now start idolising Jagdeep Singh Bains."

Bains, a former India star and mentor to Satnam Singh, was among the nine Indian players last year taken to Phoenix, Arizona in the USA by UBA India for a special basketball and fitness training programme.

The 195 players fought for 90 spots in the eight city-based teams for the league. "We have decided to reopen all the spots on the eight teams to give a fair chance to every athlete and for the coaches to take a good look at them." said Solanki, "We have been getting flooded with requests from players to join the tryouts— over 400 calls — but we could admit only around 200."

The coaches of last year’s finalist teams, Pune Peshwas and Chennai Slam, have been retained, and six new coaches for the remaining franchises will be hired. Prasanna Jayasankar, Shiba Maggon, Anthony PC, CV Sunny and Sunny Thomas are few of the respected Indian coaches roped in as part of the long term player development programmes, to ensure players are in top shape from one season to next.

"In my experience of over 30 years in basketball, this is the first time open tryouts have been held," said Jayasankar, a former Indian women’s team captain and longstanding coach, "All the boys are getting good opportunity. Anybody can come and give their best. From Indian players, to school kids, all are participating."

With the league now spreading to two cities and held over a total course of three weeks, UBA India has taken small but positive steps forward to expand their presence in Indian basketball. While Bains seems to be the marquee name in the league this time around, there is still a chance that bigger Indian stars will sign up to test their talent as the league gains traction and grows bigger. A few current and former Indian national players like Ajay Pratap Singh have already signed on for Season 2, and many more names could be revealed soon. A couple of Indian-origin players from abroad have also seen this as a boon to return to their ancestral homeland and participate in the growth of basketball here.

Let's be real, Indian kids are never going to idolise Jagdeep Singh Bains instead of LeBron James as Solanki suggested, but now, especially if the league receives good media and Ten Sports broadcast coverage, there is a chance that both of them can be idolised together!


  1. Really awesome blog. Your blog is really useful for me. Thanks for sharing this informative blog. Keep update your blog.

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  2. i would like to participate in the selection camp for next year... plz provide me the detils to do so... mail me on...

  3. i would also like to participate in the next tryout,can you plz contact me

  4. I also want to participate can u plz contact me at abhishekbhagat999@gmai.com

  5. Im a great fan of the game.... I love it a lot..... Ive captained my schools u17team the last year.... n i really wanna participate in the tournament.... i wont dassapoint you guys.... Plzzz contact me at akshatmohiley09@gmail.com
    Plzzz contact

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Konse Chanel PE kitne bje aata hai ye

  8. I would also like to participate mail me
    Lionel kabengwa5@gmail.com

  9. Can u email me the info samyukt30@gmail.com

  10. Hello sir
    I would also like to participate
    In this tryout match in next year
    Can u please email at sonuturi30@gamil.com

  11. I like to participate in this can u send me more info about it on my gmail-
    Sanskarrathore.kv@gmail.com please sir

  12. i would also like to participate in the next tryout,can you plz contact me

  13. I will like to participate in the next trials ..please reply
    Email- siddharthguru4@gmail.com

  14. I want to paticipate too in next year please contact me for next tryout.