Top hoopsters turn up for Asian trials

Top hoopsters turn  up for Asian trials

Selection trials to choose the Indian team for the upcoming South Asian Basketball Championship got underway at the Sree Kanteerava stadium here on Thursday. 

The three-day camp will feature the 25 shortlisted players who were called up for the trials after the Senior National meet held in Rajasthan in December 2014.

“We have got all the players, except for the ones from ONGC. We are expecting them to be here tonight,” said R Rajan, a member of the national selection committee.

Rajan also confirmed that the camp, monitored by Raghavendra Devadasan, coach of the Karnataka basketball team, in the absence of the national coach Bhaskar and his deputy GRL Prasad, will be pruned to a squad of 16 by Saturday. The final 12 who will represent India at the South Asian meet will be decided on a later date. The Championship will be held at the Kanteerava indoor stadium from July 3-5.

Going into the championship as the defending champions, Rajan felt the Indians will have an added advantage given that a handful of their players come in with the experience of playing in professional leagues around the world.

“Yes, that should work in our favour. We have Amjyot (Singh) and Amritpal (Singh) who now play in Japan, while Satnam (Singh) is an NBA draft. Their experience of playing against quality opponents should help us,” he added.

Amritpal and Amjyot represent the Hyogo Impulse in Japan’s National Basketball League. Meanwhile, K Govindraj, who heads one of the factions of the disputed Basketball Federation of India (BFI), assured that the federation would go ahead with its decision to host the meet in Bengaluru.

“I am confident we will host the Championship,” he said. “There will be no issues. I have met the Union Sports minister (Sarbananda Sonowal) and have also written to him regarding this. We are expecting his reply in few days,” he said, and added that preparations had begun at the Kanteerava stadium for the event on Thursday.

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