January 17, 2019

India's basketball captain Jeena Skaria signs with Ringwood Hawks of Australia's "Big V" League

Kerala-born Jeena Skaria, the captain of India's women's basketball team and arguably the most-talented women's player in the country right now, has taken the biggest leap of her career. Skaria (25) has been signed by the Ringwood Hawks, a professional basketball team in the "Big V" League of Australia and based in Melbourne. Skaria has become the second Indian woman to sign for an Australian league, following in the footsteps of her fellow Keralite Geethu Anna Rahul (formerly Jose) who did it for the same team - the Hawks - thirteen years ago.

Skaria had been in talks with the Hawks ever since their Kerala tour, during the 'International Hoopathon' event, in late 2017, where she impressed the coaches and management. But it wasn't until Wednesday this week that Ringwood officially announced that they will be bringing Skaria over.

"We are very appreciative of the assistance we have received from the Basketball Federation of India and the great people of Team Rebound, the Kerala Basketball Association and Jeena’s employer the Kerala State Electricity Board," said the "Lady Hawks" head coach Tim Mottin. "We can’t wait to have Jeena here on court and see what impact she can have for us on and off the court."

The 5'10" forward Skaria has been the captain of India's Women's national team for the last few years, including the squad that won Division B of the FIBA Asia Women's Championship in Bengaluru two years ago. She also led her state team Kerala to a national championship at the Senior Nationals earlier that year. She has been India's top performer through a string of major international tournaments ever since breaking into the senior team. Last year, she was named Basketball Player of the Year by popular choice by the Times of India Sports Awards.

Skaria's predecessor, Rahul, played for the Hawks from 2006-2008, becoming the first Indian woman to ever play professional basketball abroad. She was dominant in her stint in the league, and won the "Big V" league MVP award in 2008.

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