Noida Boy To Train At NBA Academy

May 14, 2018, Noida, Delhi, Greater Noida

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This 16-yearold Noida boy is the lone player from Delhi-NCR to be part of a group of 21 shining prospects who have been picked for free training at the country’s first NBA academy that was officially opened in Greater Noida on Tuesday . Meet Shaurya Kohli -the 5ft-8inch-tall young protégé who has chosen to tread a less-beaten path in a cricket-crazy county where Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni are revered more than Satnam Singh Bhamara, the first player from India to be drafted into the NBA, the predominant men’s professional basketball league in America.

Selected following a tough three-month, nationwide talent hunt, Kohli will now rub shoulders with players like him for the next three years at Jaypee Greens Integrated Sports Complex in Greater Noida to realise his `hoop dreams’.

Speaking to TOI, this Class XI student of Army Public School, Noida, said he was thrilled to have got through the two-tier combative selection trials held in Kolkata and Noida to be eligible to train at the NBA academy . The NBA had conducted tryouts in six regions -Mumbai, Delhi, Ludhiana, Kochi, Chennai and Kolkata -and finally se lected 21 out of the top 45 prospects earlier this year.

Son of Shehzada, a colonel serving in the Indian Army and former basketball player, and Anupam, a doctor who specialises in psychology , Kohli has been playing the game since he was 13. “I was introduced to the game by my elder brother (Shaahn) and since then, I have never stopped being fascinated by the ball.Now, I’m looking forward to my training stint at the NBA academy alongside my studies,“ he beamed after a vigorous 40-minute training session with coach Jacques Vandescure, a former professional player and NBA scout who has coached across Africa.

“India has a long way to go as far as facilities and sponsorship is concerned, but this exciting and fast-paced game is gaining popularity in the country ,“ said the Noida boy who is now dreaming of being picked up in the NBA draft.

The newly opened acade my in Greater Noida is the NBA’s fifth elite training centre globally and the first of its kind in the country . It will be fully funded by the NBA. “The opening of our first academy in India is an important milestone in the NBA’s efforts to grow basketball in India, and demonstrates our commitment to developing talents and shaping the game’s future here,“ said NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum at the formal launch of the academy at Jaypee Greens on Tuesday .

“This initiative is not about finding more sponsors or marketing partners. It’s about developing elite basketball prospects,“ Tatum said.

Elaborating on the academy’s objective, officials said the Indian academy would employ a holistic approach for players’ development with focus on education, leadership, character building and life skills. Also, as part of the programme, the selected players will participate in top competitions throughout the year and will have the opportunity to vie for a berth in teams that will travel across the world and play in international tournaments and exhibition matches.

School: Army Public School

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