September 26, 2019

Prasanna Jayasanakar - Hoopistani Indian Basketball Hall of Fame

Indian basketball has been blessed with several queens over its history, leaders who have broken the gender barrier in the game to excel, and help a generation of players after them excel, too. One of these leaders is Prasanna Jayasanakar, the legendary player and coach from Kerala and Southern Railways, who is today's addition into the Hoopistani Indian Basketball Hall of Fame.

As the story goes, Prasanna was originally drafted to play badminton at the Sports School in Kannur, Kerala, but because there was a shortage of players in the basketball team, she switched sports. Soon, her career took off. She started playing for Kerala in 1982 with the sub-junior and junior nationals, and was in the state's senior team from 1983 onwards, while she was still a teenager. From 1985 to 1996, she played for the powerhouse Southern Railway team in Chennai, a relationship that sealed her post-playing future, too.

Prasanna played for India's senior women's team from 1984-1996, and one of the highlights of her international career was captaining Team India at the 1990 FIBA Asian Basketball Championship in Singapore.

Post-retirement, Prasanna has been one of the most influential coaches in India, primarily at her position with the influential Southern Railway team, which contributed to the Indian Railways unit that has dominated India's women's basketball for several decades. Among other stars, Prasanna helped nurture the talents of Indian basketball great (and Hoopistani Hall of Famer) Geethu Anna Rahul. As player and coach, she has won dozens of medals in National Championships, Inter-Railway tournaments, All India University championships, Federation Cups, and more. Prasanna was also one of the only female coaches in the short-term men's pro league in India, the UBA.

Prasanna's husband, Jayasankar Menon, is also a legendary basketballer and a Hall of Famer. Together they were behind the Professional Basketball Academy (PBA) in Chennai. Through the course of her career, Prasanna has been given several individual honours, such as the GV Raja Award. She has been involved for a handful of times as a selector and observer for India's women's national championship and has served in the coaching staff of India's national teams.

Click here for more of the Indian Basketball Hall of Fame.


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