May 14, 2014

Indian teenager Ashika Kuruvilla continues to improve her basketball talents in New York

This is a pretty late update, but hey - better late than never! Bangalore's Ashika Kuruvilla, who had shown incredible basketball promise at the Sub-Junior and Youth level for India and for the state of Karnataka, decided to take her talents abroad a few years ago to get the most out of her potential. Now, a year after finishing her rookie season at the Baruch College of the City University of New York, the 18-year-old has already begun to give the first few glimpses of that potential come to reality. Kuruvilla played a small but significant role in her first year for the Baruch Bearcats, who won the City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) championship trophy and played in the NCAA National Division 3 tournament.

Kuruvilla, who studied previously at the Bishop Cotton Girls High School in Bangalore and then at the Christ the King Regional High School in New York, played about 14 minutes a game in 27 games in her first season for Baruch. The 6'1" Center averaged 4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. The high-point of her season was when she was named CUNYAC's Con Edison Women's Basketball Rookie of the Week in late January/early February, putting up numbers of 9 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game for the week.

Kuruvilla also played against Hunter College in the CUNYAC championship game, which Baruch 70-54 won to clinch their seventh consecutive title and earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Division 3 Tournament. In the tournament game against Hartwick College, Baruch suffered a heart-breaking 80-77 loss in overtime and ended their season with a 21-8 record.

In the coming years, Kuruvilla will hopefully gain more playing time as her game improves against the top talent. She is currently playing in the 92Y Women's Exposure Basketball League in New York City.

Her decision to live and play abroad may have robbed her a chance to tryout for India's current national teams, but in the long run, it's for the better: Kuruvilla is more likely to become an elite player playing against tougher competition and receiving better coaching in the States. And if she does return to India for a shot at the Women's national team in the future, I'm sure that she'll be able to make her mark back home, too.

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