August 2, 2014

India finalizes Junior Men's team for U18 FIBA Asia Championship

Nearly a month ago, India's Junior Men's squad trumped South Asian opponents Bangladesh and Sri Lanka on home soil to qualify for the U18 FIBA Asia Championship. The championship was scheduled to be held in Doha (Qatar) from August 19-29, and India's juniors were set to further hone their game through a preparatory camp at the SAI Center in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

But a lot has changed over the past few weeks, and with a reshuffle at the training camp, India has confirmed several new faces to represent the national squad for the FIBA Asia championship. But now, the setting of the championship itself has been changed, creating a haze of uncertainty for the squad as they prepare for the tournament.

Photo courtesy: Ekalavyas
Head Coach of India's Senior Men's team Scott Flemming was busy with the seniors and wasn't involved in coaching the under-18s qualifying triumphs in Bengaluru last month. But after guiding the National Senior side to a seventh-place finish at the FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan a few weeks ago, Flemming lent some of his time to the juniors, attending the camp in Aurangabad, and contributing to several changes in the final roster.

As Amit Sampat reported on the Times of India yesterday, Flemming's changes to the squad came as a reaction to India's performances in the qualifiers, particularly their struggles in the win over Sri Lanka. After a strenuous seven-day session with the probables - reported Sampat - Flemming along with other national selectors finalized the team with four new players.

Here is India's U18 Roster for the FIBA Asia U18 Championship
  • Samson Sandhu Singh (Maharashtra)
  • Narender (Delhi)
  • Gaurav Ohlan (Delhi)
  • Sunil (Delhi)
  • Gurvinder Singh Gill (Punjab)
  • Anmol Singh (Punjab)
  • Akashdeep Hazra (Punjab)
  • Dildar Singh Brar (Punjab)
  • Arshpreet Singh Bhullar (Punjab)
  • Pardeep (Haryana)
  • Akhil AR (Kerala)
  • Mahipal Singh (Rajasthan)
  • Head coach: Jora Singh
  • Coach: Paramdeep Singh
Via The Times of India:
On the seven-day work out Flemming said, "I was able to work with our U-18 national team last week. There are some good individual players in this team. It is a matter of continuing to work together and becoming one unit on both ends of the floor. We are trying to find a good balance of fast break basketball while still being patient in our half court offense."
Satisfied with the progress he added, "As with our senior team, defense is the key though. When the shots aren't falling they can always play good defense and rebound the basketball. I think they are making some good progress."
Samson Sandhu Singh, Akhil AR, Arshpreet Singh Bhullar, and Akashdeep Hazra are the new names added to the squad. Prudhvi Reddy - the trail blazer who honed his game in Barcelona, Spain before returning to India for the U18 SABA Qualifiers - was omitted from the squad. Top performers like Mahipal Singh and Gurvinder Singh Gill returned to the final 12 and will have the responsibility of being the team's leaders.

But instead of heading out to Qatar next week, the team will now undergo one more preparatory camp. This is because Qatar Basketball Federation pulled out as hosts of the tournament a few days ago, and now, FIBA Asia is in search for a new host for before announcing a new location and dates for the championship.

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