Dribbling his way to success on court

PROFILE

 FUTURE PROSPECT Yashas R says he is working hard towards attaining his dream of playing for India. DH PHOTO/ KISHOR KUMAR BOLAROn further enquiry, they will say they love to do so from the three-point line or six feet away from the hoop. With this being the norm, it is a joy to come across someone who loves to take it all the way to the rim.

There have been a few of those players in the past, and fortunately, there are some sprouting across India since the entry of the National Basketball Association but the numbers are just way too small to make an impact.

When it comes to Karnataka, the number dwindles down to a near nothing but just when you sigh at that thought, Yashas R forces you to take notice.

At most association or college matches, you would see the lanky point-guard/ small forward charging past three defenders after staging an entertaining act of fakes right down the centre.

After that, you begin to think he is one of those all-flash-no-class players but a couple of minutes later, he sends down a wrap-around pass to one of his team-mates and follows it up with a couple of three-pointers as if it were nothing, and you are forced to think again.

Yashas started off as a cricketer at the Kendriya Vidyalaya School in Malleswaram but after the death of his father N Ramesh, the then sixth-standard student switched sports, taking up basketball at the Beagles Basketball Club.

 The Beagles has a long history of producing some of the State’s and the country’s best basketball players and once again they have produced a player that could possibly help
Karnataka regain its glory.

“My father encouraged me to play cricket but after he passed away, I lost the urge to play cricket and I took up basketball,” said the 18-year-old commerce student from Presidency College.

“My mum encouraged me to play basketball and so did Mohan sir of Beagles. He has always been there for me and I’m very grateful to him for helping me.

“Beagles was right next to my house and it was a great place to play. I used to see some seniors, especially Gautam sir (renowned Vijaya Bank point guard), play and I really got interested in basketball,” he added.

After a couple of years and a whole lot of training, Yashas was selected to represent the under-13 (2006 and 2007) State squad, was a part of the under-16 team (2008 and 2009) and is now probably the most influential player in the under-18 team. But the dream does not end there!

“I want to play for the men’s team and hopefully for India one day. I have been putting in a lot of work and I really wish someday the hard work pays off but for now I’m going to focus on getting better,” said Yashas, who was part of the State team which finished fourth at the recent 61st Junior Nationals in Vashi, Maharashtra.

Yashas, for all that has been said, has a whole lot of flaws to go with his fluidity on court.
Things like forcing himself to the ring when least required, dribbling incessantly with an open man in sight are tell-tale signs of a player who is yet to come of age but he has a Points Per Game (PPG) average of over twenty and has contributed effectively overall in the past couple of years -- both encouraging signs.

Whether he will be able to sustain his scoring rate through a longer period and whether he will remain as crafty when he gets to play in the senior ranks will be keenly watched. More importantly, it remains to be seen if Yashas can mature in time to add fuel to the dying flame that is basketball in Karnataka.

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