A 14-year-old Patna boy has been selected for undergoing training at the soon-to-open National Basketball Association (NBA) academy, a break that holds out the promise of a lucrative career in a game in which there is a lot of money in the United States and some other countries.
Robin Banerjee, all of six feet and three inches tall and a student of class 9 at a school at Varanasi (UP), got through the two-tier combative selection trials held at Kolkata and Noida, respectively, to be part of a list of 21 players chosen for the NBA Academy India, to be launched in April this year.
The NBA and the ACG Worldwide Group recently announced the names of these top 21 players from this year’s ACG-NBA Jump National Finals. Three more players will be selected in the months prior to the opening of the NBA Academy.
The final list of 24 selected players will constitute the first batch to receive scholarships and training at NBA Academy India.
The NBA-ACG had conducted tryouts in six regions, namely, Mumbai, Delhi, Ludhiana, Kochi, Chennai and Kolkata, in the past three months and final selection of 21 players was made from the top 45 prospects, at the Jaypee Greens at Noida (February 11- 13).
The NBA Academy India, which is coming up in the National Capital Region (NCR), 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 predominant men’s professional basketball league in North America.
“I am extremely happy for making the grade. Now, I’m looking forward to my training stint alongside my studies”, an elated Robin Banerjee told HT..
Robin got the first feel of basketball under the guidance of his uncle and coach Debashish Banerjee, at the basketball court of Patna’s Moinul Haque Stadium.
“Robin is a very promising player and I hope one day he will break into NBA league”, said Debashish, the doting uncle, about his ward.
“His selection for the NBA Academy is a result of his hard work and dedication”, he added.
Robin shifted to Varanasi after his selection in Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre located there, last year.
“My current coach Surendra sir, gave me several valuable tips during the NBA Academy trials”, he said.
Basketball Association of Bihar secretary Sushil Kumar and other office-bearers have hailed Robin for his feat.