After a brief hiatus, the Basketball Federation of India's (BFI) premier nationwide school basketball league returned to action last year. Now, cleared of some of the cobwebs blocking Indian basketball, the BFI is set to bring back with a blast both the Indian School Basketball League (ISBL) and the Indian College Basketball League (ICBL) for the 2017-18 season in 22 states and territories around the country.
According to the BFI, the ISBL and ICBL will create a structured, self-sustaining system which will serve as the platform to increase organised basketball participation at grassroots level and subsequently serve as the talent development system for the Indian National Teams. These leagues are organized in such a way that it extends to a period of around 6-8 weeks where each team plays only one match every week. Also, the School Leagues have certain regulations which helps each and every player to get a good amount of playing time to showcase their talent.
List of states organizing ISBL and ICBL for the 2017-18 season
- Indian School Basketball League: Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Odisha, Chandigarh, Telangana, Gurajat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, West Bengal, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir.
- Indian College Basketball League: Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Odisha, Chandigarh, Telangana, Gurajat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan.
The previous editions of the School and College League have helped provide the Federation a wider talent pool out of which many of the top performers went on to represent India in different age groups. In 2014-15, Baladhaneshwar Poizamozhi from the ISBL and Muin Bek Hafeez from the ICBL both went on to make their Indian national debuts this year.
Rs. 25,000 will be awarded to the State Level Champions in both ISBL and ICBL, whereas the first and second runners-up will get Rs. 15,000 and 10,000 each, respectively. The details, including dates and locations, for the National Championships in both leagues will be announced soon.
Hopefully, the return of these comprehensive leagues can strengthen the backbone of grassroots Indian basketball and make it easier for talented players to get a platform to shine and improve.