August 27, 2015

Team India heads to Wuhan for 2015 FIBA Asia Women's Championship - Roster, schedule, & preview

For the Chinese, Wuhan is the capital of the Hubei province and the most populous city in central China. For the Indians, especially those sprinkled with flavours of hoops, the city has stood for some positive fortune in recent years. In 2011, Wuhan hosted the FIBA Asia Baksetball Championship, where 15-year-old Satnam Singh made his Senior ABC debut, four years before becoming the first Indian drafted to the NBA. Last year, in the FIBA Asia Cup at Wuhan, India's men's team gained their biggest victory ever, defeating hosts China in a game that I have since dubbed the 'Wonder of Wuhan'.

Photo Courtesy: Ekalavyas / BFI
Starting this weekend, India will be hoping that their strange basketball kinship with this city extends to the Women's side as well.

India's Senior Women's Basketball team has departed for China to take part in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship for Women (FIBA Women's ABC), set to be held in Wuhan from September 29 to August 5. Japan will return as the tournament's reigning champions and look to defend their trophy. A total of 12 teams will take part in the competition, divided into two 'Levels' of six teams each.

Two years ago, at the 2013 FIBA Women's ABC, India made history under Spanish Coach Francisco Garcia, by winning their first-ever Level 1 game and finishing at a best-ever fifth place. Garcia has returned as the Women's team coach with a younger squad this year for Wuhan with hopes to retain their position in the top level, where they will play against Asia's Big Four (Japan, Korea, China, Chinese Taipei) and Thailand. Teams that finish in the top four of Level 1 advance to the semi-final stage while 5th and 6th place teams compete in playoff games against the top two teams of Level II to fight for their top level placement for the tournament's next iteration in two years.

"I would be very happy if we can keep the spot in Level 1," Garcia told the Hoopdarshan podcast, "Doesn't matter if it's the fifth or sixth position. I would be really really happy with number five, but the main goal is to keep the spot in Level 1. Right now, we know the situation with Indian Basketball. Here, the situation is not very clear yet, and it effects everything. It effects players, it effects coaches, the work, everything. And then, of course, the preparation was not the best. Four and a half weeks, compared to teams who are already working since three or four months ago. But anyways, we are going to go over there and I'm pretty sure that we will have a good result. We are working well. My only fear right now is the conditioning - not the basketball. The girls know my system more or less very well."

The participating teams in the tournament are:
  • Level I: Japan, Korea, China, Chinese Taipei, India, Thailand.
  • Level II: Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Philippines, North Korea, Sri Lanka.
Team India Roster for 2015 FIBA Asia Championship for Women
  • Anjana PG
  • Stephy Nixon
  • Poojamol KS
  • Smruthi Radhakrishnan
  • Kavita Akula
  • Jenna PS
  • Shireen Limaye
  • Bhandavya HM
  • Apporva Muralinath
  • Rajapriyadarshani Rajaganapathi
  • Anitha Paul Durai
  • Sitamani Tudu
  • Head Coach: Francisco Garcia
  • Assistan Coach: Aparna Ghosh
Team India's Preliminary Round Schedule - all timings IST
  • Aug 29 - 12:30 PM - Chinese Taipei vs. India.
  • Aug 30 - 3 PM - Japan vs. India.
  • Aug 31 - 5 PM - China vs. India.
  • Sep 1 - 12:30 PM - India vs. Thailand.
  • Sep 2 - 12:30 PM - India vs. Korea.
Air Asia is sponsoring the Indian team’s participation at the event. Basketball Federation of India (BFI) President K Govindaraj distributed the team kits and thanked Mittu Chandilya, AIR Asia MD and CEO for his support to India Basketball. Addressing the players, Govindraj said, "We all have put in a lot of effort in the training camp. Now it is up to you to bring laurels to the country. I wish all the players, coaches and manager all the best."

"We want to promote sports the right way," said Chandilya, "Basketball in India is at the time when it needs help and is full of opportunity, especially now that there is an Indian in the NBA. The sponsorship is not just for the women’s team but for all teams."

Leading the team is seven-time Asian Championship player Anitha Paul Durai, who successfully regained match fitness after missing out most of last year due to motherhood. Paul Durai had first joined the senior national team way back in 2001 at the age of 15. "I have captained the side in 2005 and then in the 2012 Asian Beach Games where we won gold." said Paul Durai. "This time everyone is junior than me but the positive is that everyone will listen to me. Our goal is to maintain 5th position by beating Thailand."

Other familiar names include Kerala forwards Jeena PS, Poojamol KS, Smruthi Radhakrishnan (who plays for Railways) and Stephy Nixon. Young Maharashtra forward Shireen Limaye marks her comeback from injury and will be expected, along with Paul Durai, to provide much-needed play-making abilities to the side.

"Since some of the senior players such as Prashanti Singh, Geethu Anna Jose and Raspreet Sidhu are missing there is definitely more pressure on me," said Limaye. "Last time around I was the sixth player. Now I will be playing from the start, so it will be harder but I enjoy the additional responsibility."

While the team is confident of their abilities, the Head Coach has been cautious and realistic to temper expectations after a short build-up to the tournament and the relative inexperience of the team. Still, Indian fans will be hoping that at the very least India can remain in Level I, ideally finish at fifth place, and if another wonder can be possible in Wuhan, perhaps sneak into the semi-final for the first time ever!

August 26, 2015

Hoopdarshan Episode 15: India at the FIBA Asia Championship for Women with Head Coach Francisco Garcia‏

Photo Courtesy: Ekalavyas / BFI
As we countdown the days to the 2015 FIBA Asia Basketball Championship for Women in Wuhan (China), hosts Kaushik Lakshman and Karan Madhok of the Hoopdarshan podcast couldn't find better company than the Head Coach of Team India himself, Francisco Garcia. Two years after he guided India to a best-ever fifth-place finish, Garcia gives us a detailed preview of what the Indian attack will look like at Wuhan, his expectations of the team's rising new stars, and his 2nd India Bucket List before he returns home to Spain.

Garcia, who was a guest on Hoopdarshan on Episode 5 a few months ago, returns to our podcast in an episode filled with both intelligent insight and some pointless banter. Garcia touches on several more topics with us, including without the services of the legendary Geethu Anna Jose, the team's preparation for their upcoming Asian opponents, and potentially trying re gan mian in Wuhan.

Hoopdarshan aims to be the true voice of Indian basketball, and since we're such hopeless fans of the game, it will become the voice of everything basketball related we love, from the NBA to international hoops, too. On every episode of Hoopdarshan, we will be inviting a special guest to interview or chat to about a variety of topics. With expert insight from some of the brightest and most-involved people in the world of Indian basketball, we hope to bring this conversation to a many more interested fans, players, and followers of the game.

Make sure to follow Hoopdarshan on Soundcloud or search for 'Hoopdarshan' on the iTunes Store! Auto-sync Hoopdarshan to your preferred podcast app NOW!

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    August 25, 2015

    India's Amrit Pal Singh and Amjyot Singh signed by Tokyo Excellence of Japan's Basketball D-League


    Amrit Pal Singh and Amjyot Singh have been tethered together for years. The two big men share a common state of origin (Punjab), a common family name (Singh), a common front-court in India's Men's Senior National Basketball team, and even common controversies. Earlier this year, Amrit Pal and Amjyot - starters for India's NT and two of the best basketball players that the nation has to offer - took their talents overseas to play together, in the same team, in Japan's BJ Summer League.

    And now, still tethered together, Amrit Pal Singh (7-foot) and Amjyot Singh (6-foot-9) - both 23 - have taken another step towards making history. After impressive performances for Hyogo Impulse of the BJ Summer League from June to August 2015, the two bigs are heading off to a bigger city and a bigger league. The two Indian players have been signed on one-year contracts by Tokyo Excellence of the Japan's National Basketball Development League (NBDL). The NBDL was established in 2013 as a second-tier league below Japan's National Basketball League.

    Tokyo Excellence has been the team with the best record in NBDL’s brief history, having won both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 championships. The team has active participation in hometown activities and events, including visits to schools and mentoring young basketball teams.

    The period of their contracts is from 1st September 2015 to 31st March 2016. Expressing their happiness over the new opportunity, Amjyot and Amrit Pal said that they felt blessed and will look to do their best to make India proud.

    The young cagers have been mainstays of the Indian Men’s National Team over the past two years, leading them to the historic, first ever victory over China in 2014 during the 5th FIBA Asia Cup held in Wuhan, China. Having learnt the fundamentals of the game at Ludhiana Basketball Academy under late Coach Dr. S. Subramaniam, the duo quickly developed their game and became vital to the Indian National Team’s success.

    This significant move has been made possible by the behind-the-scenes effort put in by their managers, Rohit Bakshi (from YounGuns) and DIME Initiatives, along with well-respected Internationally Certified FIBA Agent Toshi Koga of Japan. “I’m just so happy that these kids are making India proud in Japan," Bakshi said, "These kids were trained in India and are showcasing their training at a high level. The Indian basketball fraternity needs to support them and help them get further by all means!”

    Search 'Indian basketball player' internationally and the hype and results will likely point you to one name: Satnam Singh Bhamara, the first Indian citizen to be drafted into the NBA. But, while the 19-year-old Punjabi giant attempts to wade his way into America (and the world's) best basketball league through their Development League system, a couple of other Punjabi giants out of India are well on their way to scripting respectable professional careers for themselves internationally.

    Even though they start this new professional chapter of their careers next week, Amrit Pal and Amjyot won't be deserting their national team responsibilites anytime soon. They have already discussed with their new club that they will be available to lead Team India's campaign at the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship - the biggest tournament that India's national team participates in - from September 23 to October 3 in Changsha, China. Althoug they were unavailable for India's practice and qualification for this tournament, their return will be a big boost for the team's campaign in China next month.

    This is fantastic news for Amrit Pal and Amjyot, who are entering uncharted territory for Indian basketball players. India doesn't have its own full-time professional basketball league, and the players are right in their decision to make the most of their talents at a professional level whenever such an opportunity arises. Hopefully, they can continue rising up the ranks of Japanese basketball and their performances at the D-League earn them an opportunity with Japan's National Basketball League, too.

    And hopefully, the inseparable superstars can continue on the path to success as they always have: together.
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    August 19, 2015

    Basketball Federation of India to implement Instant Replay System

    India's FIBA Commissioner and experienced referee Norman Isaac told The Hindu's A. Joseph Antony a few days ago of the Basketball Federation of India's (BFI) plans to implement an Instant Replay System (IRS) - like the DRS in Cricket or Goal-Line Technology in Football - to eliminate human error from officiating in the game of basketball. The IRS will use more enhanced technology than ever before to ease the work of referees and officials at major Indian basketball games.

    Around the world, technology has begun to aide decision-making and reduce human error in sports. Recently, the NBA even launched a special Replay Center to Secaucus which uses high-definition cameras to aide the decisions of referees on the ground itself.

    The IRS was first introduced to Indian players and coaches through a clinic at last year's Senior National Basketball Championship in Bhilwara, Rajasthan. "This was to enable players and officials from all states assembled for the country’s premier event learn the latest rules and avoid their misinterpretation," Isaac, who is also the chairman of the BFI's Technical Commission, told The Hindu.

    More from The Hindu's report

    It works as follows: An IRS official, sometimes seated with table officials, monitors the action based on live footage from six cameras set up at strategic locations around and above the court. Replay reviews are conducted after gathering as much information as possible from valid sources. While decision-making will be collective, powers are vested with the referee to deliver the verdict.
    Whether a review is required in the first place will be his choice. The revaluation must be conducted as fast as possible, during which no unauthorised person must have access to the IRS Visual Display Unit. After the assessment, the referee shall make known his decision in front of the scorer’s table, which, if necessary, will be communicated to the two teams’ coaches.
    In case of disagreement, the referee may consult the umpire(s), table officials and the commissioner, if he is present, to take a final decision.

    In FIBA’s constant quest to keep pace with the changing times, this innovation will have far reaching implications. The review process will extend to a) end of period or extra period, b) last two minutes of the fourth quarter or extra period, c) any given time during the contest.
    To find out whether a field goal attempt is successful, a check is made on whether the ball is released before any foul is called, or game or shot clock signals are sounded. The vigil will also be on violations concerning the shot clock, the eight-second limit and the area of play.
    Also under IRS purview will be whether a field goal was a two or three-pointer, who the last player was to cause the ball to go out of bounds, identifying the correct free throw shooter and those involved in fights or leaving the bench area, and the appropriate penalty to be handed out. It will also ensure the main game clock does not stop after the officials blow the whistle, and it does not start running before the ball is in play to define how much time actually expired and how much remains in the period.

    Any one who has ever played in local level (and often, even national level) tournaments in India has at some point suffered an unfair decision at the hands of referees. Often, those decisions are clear human errors: the referees can't see and hear everything on a busy basketball court perfectly at all times and must make many decisions on limited knowledge and instinct. But sometimes, a pre-game agenda to favour a certain team (through favour or threat) leads some referees to make questionable decisions, too. The new IRS should help enhance the physical short-comings of the refs and keep them honest in case of any purposeful wrongdoing with visual evidence of the play.

    There was no indication of how soon the new system will begin to effect basketball tournaments in India, but we hope that they are ready by this year's Senior Nationals (likely to fall in December).

    August 18, 2015

    How to choose a favourite NBA team: An infallible guide for the Indian fan

    This article was first published in my column for Ekalavyas on August 4, 2015. Click here to read the original post.

    Photo Courtesy: Ekalavyas

    Hey you! Yes, you, my faithful reader. My companion through words and internet clicks. I’m addressing you all. All of you, drop what you’re doing (unless it’s a basketball, in which case, drop it and dribble it back up) and listen.

    We know that – even as Indians – we are all different. We speak dozens – if not hundreds – of different languages. We argue over Amir, Shah Rukh, or Salman. We throw leg spins and off spins. Some prefer Gulab Jamuns to Rasgullas. Among us our Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, atheists, and those who only believe in the Holy Church of Michael Jordan. We travel by planes, sleeper trains, auto-rickshaws, and bail gadis. Some of us love Butter Chicken, some love Mutton Sukka, and many will politely ask you to refrain the meat in favour of the humble daal and subzi, thank you very much.

    And yet, if you’re here, then we all have one thing in common, and that is the game of basketball.

    A little over a month ago, Satnam Singh became the first Indian citizen to be drafted into the NBA. Satnam’s draft rights have gone to the Dallas Mavericks, one of the 30 franchises in the world’s most exciting and talented basketball league. Back home in India, the NBA has seen an unbelievable rise in e-commerce sales over the last year, and the number keeps rising. With more games than ever on TV, more followers from India on the league’s social media accounts, and more direct interaction between the NBA and Indian fans, we Indians have become one of target market for the NBA’s future.

    But, as you already know, my dear reader, we Indians – even among NBA fans – are not all alike. And therefore, our NBA fandom will be as different as night and day or Gulab Jamuns and Rasgullas, too.

    In North America, choosing NBA fandom is relatively simpler. If you’re from a city or live in a city that has a pro basketball team, you usually pick that team. If you live near a city that has a pro basketball team and have access to their arena, you usually pick that team. If the star of your college or from your state plays for an NBA team, maybe you divert your fandom towards that team. Or sometimes, like everywhere else in the world, you pick your team simply by following your favourite player.

    But what about basketball fans internationally? And specifically, fans in India? Until Satnam Singh actually makes his debut in a Dallas Mavericks jersey – which is a possibility but far from a guarantee – what team should we pick as our favourite? Fans in India are over 10,000 kilometers on the other side of the world to New York, Los Angeles, San Antonio, or Miami. For most of us, the home city a player plays for hardly matters: we can only relate with what happens inside an NBA arena, and nothing else.

    Established fans are already steadfast about their choices. India has a large number of Lakers fans (mostly from the Kobe/Shaq and the continuing Kobe era), Bulls fans (because everyone loves Lord Jordan, and the D-Rose era has been nice too), Celtics fans (to balance out the Lakers, and the recent Big Three era), Spurs fans (all they do is win) and fans of whatever LeBron does. With the average Indian NBA fan getting more immersed in the league as ever, fans of the Thunder, Clippers, and of course, the reigning champion Warriors have emerged. And then there are fans like me who love the Knicks and inexplicably decide that self-flagellation is truly the quickest way to basketball nirvana.

    But I’m talking to you, undecided, or new NBA fan in India. Let’s find you an NBA team that fits your exact life configuration. Consider this a of basketball match-making; we’ll find you a team that fits your kundli and personality perfectly. Some of the explanations may be confusing, but I implore you, dear reader, to have faith and just go with it.

    Are you big city kid who likes success as much as you like dramatic soap operas? Would you watch basketball if Abhishek Bachchan and other celebrities watched it, too? You my friend, sound like an ideal Los Angeles Lakers fan. Good or bad, this bandwagon is never boring.

    Are you similar to the person above, but instead have watched flop movies most of your life, and suddenly, those flops have a bigger budget and are doing better than the previous Bollywood stars? Do you like Gurgaon? Your team is the Los Angeles Clippers. Enjoy the hype and suffer the curse.

    Do you hate everything about Bollywood and showbiz? Are you a grown adult who had 90 percent of his best experiences in college, and still can’t help but remind everyone about it? You need to start following the Boston Celtics, the antitheses to the showbiz Lakers but equally as successful. The only problem: most of their success came decades ago.

    Do you like Goa, hanging out at the beach, and finding parties? Are you feeling hot all the time? Are you only considering to adopt an NBA team when they’re popular, and are happy partying with your friends in ignorance when they’re not? Consider the Miami Heat.  

    Do you really, really love EsselWorld, even as an adult, and even if most of your experiences there were horrible experiences? It’s time you picked the team in America’s amusement park capital, the Orlando Magic. The ride will be mostly forgettable and puke-y, but every once in a while, the roller-coaster will go really high (Shaq, Dwight).

    Were you the quiet guy in class who didn’t speak to anyone, came 1st every year, got into a good college, came 1st again, did some amazing and wonderful things, and still didn’t speak to anyone? Did you grew up somewhere like Dehradun, Allahabad, or Visakhapatnam? You sound like a San Antonio Spurs fan. Words are overrated, anyways. Go out and win.

    Are you just like the person above, except you’re just not good enough? Are you adept at doing a good job at work without attracting too much attention to yourself? Maybe you should settle for the Atlanta Hawks

    You buy Tata Sky. It works extremely well for a few days, but then it breaks down, and the mechanics can’t fix it. You switch to AirTel, Hathway, DEN, and everything else, and the same happens, so much so that you now expect every good cable service to eventually fail you. Did you have a chance to switch to the greatest and most reliable cable service of All Time but instead settled for Sam Bowie? Hi there, Portland Trail Blazers fan.

    For years, you have stood out from the rest of your gang as being the tough guy, the guy who doesn’t complain about his conditions and doesn’t believe in getting too fancy. You travel by Sleeper or General class on the train and actually like being stuck in traffic jams. Unfortunately, Detroit Pistons fan, your latest traffic jam doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon.

    Are you a math wizard? Do you apply advanced concepts of calculus to everything from designing new computer hardware to sharing the payment for a plate of samosas with your friends? Despite your intellectual advantages, do you flop and complain to get your way done? Let me introduce you to Moreyball, James Harden, and the Houston Rockets

    Every day, you are wearing a suit and riding the Mumbai Local with a newspaper in your hand. You criticize every news item you read on the way. Every day, the train breaks down, you get late for work, and you spill a cup of chai all over your suit. You are angry at yourself, but for some reason, you convince yourself and everyone around you that the next day will be better. It never is. Join the New York Knicks.

    You are from a small town and have gone tired of the limited opportunities. But suddenly, over the past few years, a number of good-looking girls (or boys, if that is your preference) move into your town. The nearest CafĂ© Coffee Day is buzzing. It’s a good time to become a Milwaukee Bucks fan.

    If you are the same as above, except that the new attractive people in your town are supermodels and all of them have unibrows. New Orleans Pelicans. Those CCDs are about to get insane.

    You are the nicest guy whose favourite novel is Chetan Bhagat’s “Half Girlfriend” because you can totally relate to being in a friend-zone relationship. You still haven’t asked that girl out; the flirting has gone pretty well, and although you get angry and emotional every once in a while, you are mostly harmless to her. The Toronto Raptors will suit you really well.

    Your girlfriend was nice to you, but she’s been wanting to leave for a better guy for years. Finally, you stop resisting, but instead of spending your single-hood in depression, you find the company of younger, more interesting girls. Life still isn’t any better, but it’s looking up. Pick the Minnesota Timberwolves.  

    You are from a small city, and the most beautiful girl in the city was your girlfriend. She even went on to become Miss India. Unfortunately, she was unhappy with you and left you to hang out with the guy who parties in Goa a lot. You hated her for four years, but after partying a lot with other famous friends, she decided to come back to you, and you have accepted her with open arms. Things are going pretty well for now (until she leaves you again). Look up the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Instead of buying a great new car, do you like to upgrade your old car with expensive old pieces that don’t fit together very well? Does your car look good but give really bad mileage? You may be able to relate to the plight of Brooklyn Nets fans right now.

    You probably live in a hill-station like Shimla, Mussoorie, or Nainital. You love to go on treks, and whenever your friends visit, they have a hard time breathing. Have all your hometown friends with potential left for opportunities to other cities? It’s only right that you pick the Denver Nuggets.

    You are from a hill-station, too, and once upon a time, it was popular for having the best hotels and boarding schools in the country. But hardly anyone visits anymore, dear Utah Jazz fan. That Eiffel Tower replica looks nice on Mall Road, though.

    Once, you were one of the healthiest and most active people in your friends circle. But you ate a suspect-looking plate of Chhola-Batura off the street and now you’re really sick. For the last three years, you keep eating that same Chhola-Batura and you haven’t stopped puking. Welcome to the world of the Philadelphia 76ers.

    Whenever you read the Mahabharata, you can’t help but imagine how great it would’ve been if Arjun and Karan were on the same side instead of fighting each other. Imagine how unstoppable they would be? Of course, the coach (Krishna) will probably need to figure out a way to make sure there were enough arrows in the quiver for both of them. Try Durant and Westbrook in the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    You love Sachin Tendulkar so much that you support every team he ever played for domestically (Mumbai, Mumbai Indians) and worship him internationally for Team India. Life without Sachin was tough for you, but his successors could give you similar joys if they stopped getting hurt so much. Since you love the best ever, you’ll probably like Michael Jordan, too. And you’ll love the team he was forever associated with: the Chicago Bulls

    Sachin Tendulkar decided to run your family business, and it’s not going well. Charlotte Hornets.

    You are a man’s man. You subscribe to Maxim, FHM, and Men’s World magazines, ride around a bullet, and haven’t shaved your beard for years. Your favourite ‘Jungle Book’ character is Baloo the Bhalu. Nothing but the Memphis Grizzlies will suffice.

    You go into theatre to watch the newest star-studded film, but just before the final act, there is a power cut and you miss the ending. For some reason, his keeps happening to you over and over again. You enjoy the comedic beginnings, romantic moments, and the item numbers, but the last action scene and conclusion remains elusive. These days, those power cuts are happening before intermission. Join the Phoenix Suns.

    Although you love your ghar ka khana – your mom’s simple home-cooked meals – sometimes to strive for something more exciting. Unfortunately, the last time you came close to a fancy restaurant, there was a brawl. You returned to your daal back home. Try the Indiana Pacers.

    Have you had the best year ever? Did you get a promotion at work, buy a new car, finish every level of Angry Birds, and got more Facebook ‘likes’ on your profile pic than ever before? Good for you. Now stop being smug and start supporting the Golden State Warriors.

    You are from New Delhi and probably spend your days driving around India Gate, the Rashtrapati Bhavan, and the Red Fort. When you go back home, however, you end up fighting for a parking spot with that annoying uncle who keeps puncturing people’s tires. Welcome to the Washington Wizards fan club.

    You travel to exotic corners of the world, have access to interesting culinary delights, and you only crave Indian food, no matter how bad it is, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, after all. You like eating at these bad Indian restaurants with one good dish. Join the Sacramento Kings. Hopefully, Indian owner Vivek Ranadive, Indo-Canadian player Sim Bhullar, and DeMarcus Cousins can add some masala to those flavourless dishes soon.

    Are you the type of Indian who doesn’t like to see other Indian be successful? Then bugger off. To everyone else, there are the Dallas Mavericks. Sure, they feature an All Time legend (Dirk Nowitzki) and won a championship just four years ago. But the real reason for you to pay attention is that this is the team that drafted the first Indian to the NBA, Satnam Singh. Get ready to wear your tiranga flag and stand up and sing the Jana-Gana-Mana… with the Mavericks. Unless Satnam doesn’t ever make the team, in which case, you have 29 other teams to choose from!

    August 17, 2015

    Doha (Qatar) win 2015 FIBA 3x3 Beijing Masters; Indian teams knocked out early

    It took a dramatic buzzer-beating winner in overtime by Dominic Jones to help Doha (Qatar) defeat their Slovenian opponents and seal the winner's trophy at the 2015 FIBA 3x3 Beijing Masters, an international 3x3 basketball tournament held at the Wukesong Hi-Park in Beijing (China) on August 15-16. India also sent two teams to this championship but both of them failed to make it past the tournament's first round.

    On Sunday, August 16, Doha defeated Ljubljana from Slovenia in a nail-biting finale of the two-day tournament, 22-20, on the back of Jones' buzzer-beating shot.

    Earlier on Sunday, Doha defeated UAE's Novi Sad Al Wahda 21-15 to punch in their ticket for the final, while Ljubljana silenced the home crowd with a 21-14 victory over Wukesong (China).

    Wukesong's Chris Reaves scored 42 points over the two days to end as the top scorer of the Beijing 3x3 Masters.

    India's two 3x3 teams - Chandigarh and Bangalore - were both knocked out of the tournament on its first day, after the group stage.

    Team Bangalore was the squad which represented India at the 2015 3x3 South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) Qualifiers in Colombo earlier this month. Bangalore's first game was against home team Zheng Zhou of China. Despite keeping up with their opponents most of the game, Bangalore lost the final few points to go down 21-18. They played their next game against UAE's high-ranked squad Novi Sad Al Wahda, who won the game 21-13. Bangalore ended the tournament at ninth place.

    Team Chandigarh was the squad which won gold as 'Punjab Warriors' at the 2014 NBA Jam Nationals Finals in Pune last December. They lost their first game to Tokyo (Japan) 21-12 and second one to hosts Wukesong 21-13. Chandigarh ended the tournament at 11th place.

    The highest scoring Indian player was Jeevanantham Pandi of Bangalore, who finished with 17 points in his two games.

    20-year-old Kushmeet Atwal from Chandigarh shone in the shootout contest by topping the qualification round. In the finals he finished third behind Dusan Domovic Bulut of Novi Sad Al Wahda and Xu Liu of Beijing. The other Indian in the fray, Siddhant Shinde from Team Bangalore failed to make it past the qualification stage.

    Chandigarh’s Arshdeep Dhillon and Bangalore's Jeevanantham Pandi took part in the dunk contest but neither qualified for the knockout stages. The contest was eventually won by Jordan Kilganon of Canada.

    2015 FIBA 3x3 Beijing Masters Final Standings
    • 1. Doha (Qatar)
    • 2. Ljubljana (Slovenia)
    • 3. Novi Sad Al Wahda (UAE)
    • 4. Wukesong (China)
    • 5. Tokyo (Japan)

    August 16, 2015

    Indian Army and Chhattisgarh win All India Basketball Tournaments in Coimbatore

    Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu once again hosted its annual monsoon basketball fiesta, two All India invitational tournaments for Men and Women. On Saturday August 15, while the rest of India celebrated the 69th anniversary of Independence Day, the Indian Army men's basketball team hoisted the 51st All India Basketball PSG Trophy. In the women's tournament, Chhattisgarh emerged as winners of the 14th CRI Pumps Trophy.

    The Indian Army Men's team, who hail from New Delhi, bounced back after finishing as runners-up last year to defeat home-state team IOB (Chennai) in the final on Saturday, 59-53. Gopalram was the high scorer for the Armymen with 17, while G Sivabalan dropped in a game-high 19 points in IOB's losing effort.

    The women's final, a high-scoring affair, turned out to be a personal showcase for Chhattigarh's giant center Poonam Chaturvedi. The tallest women player in India, Chaturvedi scored 48 points to help Chhattisgarh outlast their opponents KSEB (Kerala) 84-78. Grima Merlin Varghese scored 19 points for the KSEB.