Two years ago, the future star names of Indian basketball showed the first major flash of their promise, when they took a major leap to 8th place in the FIBA U18 Asian Championship in Tehran. Many of those players from the 2016 tournament have aged out of contention, but now, a new generation of players will get a chance to make their mark at the junior stage.
The 2018 FIBA Under-18 Asian Championship, the 25th edition of the Asian Championship for Junior Men aged 18 years old and below, will tip off in Nonthanuri, Thailand on Sunday, and held from August 5-11 this year. Sixteen top Asians squads, including India, hosts Thailand, and reigning champions Iran are set to participate in this high-stakes championship. The top four teams from this tournament will qualify to represent FIBA Asia in the 2019 FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup.
- Group A: Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Indonesia
- Group B: China, Philippines, Lebanon, UAE
- Group C: Australia, New Zealand, Bahrain, Thailand
- Group D: Korea, Chinese Taipei, India, Syria
India come into this tournament having convincingly won the South Asian Qualifying round of the FIBA U18 Asian Basketball Championship in Dhaka. India will be coached by Aman Sharma and will feature exciting young players such as Rajeev Kumar, Prashant Tomar, Harshwardhan Tomar, Seijin Mathew, Princepal Singh, and Rajveer Singh Bhati in their roster.
Team India Roster for U18 FIBA Asia Championship
- Tushal Singh
- Rajeev Kumar
- Pratyanshu Tomar
- Prashant Tomar
- Harshwardhan Tomar
- Prashant Singh Yadav
- Abhishek Sharma
- Jagshaanbir Singh Jhawar
- Arvind Kumar Muthu Krishnan
- Seijin Mathew
- Princepal Singh
- Rajveer Singh Bhati
- Coach: Aman Sharma
- Assistant Coach: Laldinsanga Hangsing
- August 5 - Chinese Taipei vs. India - 2 PM
- August 6 - India vs. Korea - 11 AM
- August 7 - India vs. Syria - 11 AM
To qualify for the playoff stage, India will need to pick up at least one win and finish in the top three of their group. Group winners will get an automatic bye into the quarter-finals.
The main contenders in this tournament will be the usual suspects: Iran and China, and right on their tails, Japan, Korea, and Philippines, too. India's best chance of success is likely to come in their final preliminary round stage against Syria, a nation whose senior team has been a thorn in India's side numerous times in FIBA qualifiers and events over the past years. India is sending a strong and well-balanced squad, and this tournament has the potential of unleashing Princepal Singh as the next big star for Indian basketball if all goes well. Hopefully, he and other players like Harshwardhan Tomar can score an important victory or two and get further into this tournament than their predecessors in recent years.