November 14, 2017

UBA India hands multi-year contracts to 30 top basketball players - including Satnam Singh

For the past few years, the UBA India has introduced an exciting new avenue for Indian basketball players, launching short competitive seasons of their growing UBA Basketball League, helping India's top players improve the level of their game, and even roping in NBA legend AC Green as their new director of sport. Now, with ambitions to secure the services of their top players for the long term - before the Indian basketball bubble expands - UBA has handed multi-year professional contracts to 30 of their top Indian basketball players. This is the first time that basketball players in India will get guaranteed contracts of this length.

Earlier this month, the UBA signed Satnam Singh, the first Indian drafted into the NBA, to a contract with the league. Satnam had spent the past two seasons playing with the Texas Legends of the NBA's G-League and is set to join his home state's Punjab Steelers with the UBA. Now, they have followed up the big news with the announcement that 29 more players will be signed to contracts into seven of the eight UBA teams.

"I still remember the day I signed my first professional contract in the NBA," said AC Green. "It left a huge impression on my life. Now these players get to experience that same feeling that I once had upon signing my first contract. We are excited about our upcoming season and the future of Indian basketball."

The contracts range from three to five years for a combined total of more than Rs 16 crore. In addition, the signed players will also receive basketball and fitness training from top experts in the USA, along with nutritional guidance to help them maximise their potential.

Apart from Satnam, the players signed to these contracts include several with past or present Indian national team experience, such as Palpreet Brar, Rikin Pethani, Anil Kumar Gowda, Muin Bek Hafeez, Yadwinder Singh, Jagdeep Singh Bains, Prasanna Venkatesh, and TJ Sahi. India's top three players - Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, Amritpal Singh, and Amjyot Singh - are absent from this list, even though all of them participated in the UBA's last season. Bhriguvanshi is recovering from an injury and has been signed by the NBL's Adelaide 36ers as a reserve. Amritpal has become the first Indian to play in the Australian NBL after he was signed by the Sydney Kings. Amjyot was drafted by the NBA G-League and is currently playing for the OKC Blue.

List of players signed with UBA to multi-year deals - via SportStar
  • Bengaluru Beast: Palpreet Brar, Loveneet Singh Atwal, Kaif Zia, Visu Palani, Khushmeet Singh Atwal.
  • Chennai Slam: Chukwunanu Agu, Cammy Carmel, Rikin Pethani.
  • Delhi Capitals: Anil Kumar Gowda, Muin Bek Hafeez, Vinay Kaushik.
  • Haryana Gold: Yadwinder Singh, Akashdeep Hazra, Himanshu Sharma.
  • Mumbai Challengers: Jagdeep Singh Bains, Prasanna Venkatesh, Prudhvi Reddy, Jeevanantham Pandi, Dildar Brar.
  • Pune Peshwas: Siddhant Shinde, Arshpreet Bhullar, Ajinkya Mane.
  • Punjab Steelers: Gurvinder Singh Gill, Sagar Joshi, Harmanpreet Singh, Taj Sandhu, Kaushal Ravi Kumar, Satnam Singh, TJ Sahi, Vikas Mor.

In India, where there is no full-time professional league and the top basketball players are semi-professionals that usually have other jobs, multi-year contracts are a major step forward in helping top talent get job security. Hopefully, this translates to better play on court and more competition in players aspiring to play and star for the UBA.

The Mumbai Challengers won Season 4 of the UBA League in March earlier this year, led by their foreign imports Alex Scales, Jimmy Scroggins, Inderbir Singh Gill, as well as experienced Indian veterans Bains and Venkatesh. The new guaranteed contracts, inclusion of Satnam in the fray and AC Green in the management side, plus the continuing improvement of the players, should help in another great season of basketball when UBA returns for Season 5.

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