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Mischief makers rule, Deccan B girls cruise at under-16 district basketball championship

Clubs as well as schools from all over the city are participating in the event, giving them an opportunity to impress coaches and scouts.

pune Updated: May 20, 2018 23:35 IST
Pranav Shahaney
Pranav Shahaney
Hindustan Times, Pune
Players of Deccan B (yellow) and SKP (red) during a match at the seventh late Sanjay Mahadeo Nimhan memorial basketball tournament.
Players of Deccan B (yellow) and SKP (red) during a match at the seventh late Sanjay Mahadeo Nimhan memorial basketball tournament.(HT PHOTO)

Held at Deccan Gymkhana – Pune’s go to place for all things basketball – the seventh late Sanjay Mahadeo Nimhan Memorial under-16 district championship just finished the group stage phase of the group and knockout basketball tournament. Here, clubs as well as schools from all over the city are participating, giving players an opportunity to showcase their skills in front of the coaches that will be picking the Pune district team for the forthcoming state championships set to be held in Satara in the first week of June.

On Sunday, in the boys’ side of the draw, Mischief Makers’ A and B sides registered wins over MPA and PYC. It was far from smooth sailing for the latter as they got over the line in a high-scoring and nail-biting end-to-end game against the team from just down the street.

Eashan Ghogare’s 11 points proved be the difference between the two teams at the end, while Youvan Garware’s 15 point haul for PYC went in vain as they ended up on the losing side.

In the girls event, Shreya Upashi and Madhura Gore scored points in double figures to help Deccan B ease their way towards a win against a tame SKP. Aadhya Desai seemed to be the only one up for the contest, as she scored more than half of SKP’s points, but, they went in vain as their defence proved to be their Achilles’ heel on the evening. Deccan B won the contest by a 34-13 scoreline.

Parents still calling time on talent playing ball, but... the NBA is here now

When one speaks about sports in the country, basketball is not usually the first name that springs to mind. Lalit Nahata, vice- president of the Pune district basketball association (PDBA), says, “In Pune, we see a lot of kids playing basketball from a young age, but that is only because they like the sport as a recreational activity. Their parents support them only up to a certain extent so as to ensure that they can cope with both their education as well as playing the sport. However, once they grow up and the academic burden is put on their shoulders, they have to drop out. I wouldn’t blame the students or the parents as they have a valid point because it is a tough life ahead and the success rate is better if you pursue academics diligently and graduate.”

Nahata is of the opinion that if a child aged eight or nine is given a basketball in their hands and taught the basics then have better opportunities of performing well on the national and international stage than a late bloomer in their teenage years.

“Why India struggles to produce solid basketball talents in large numbers is solely due to the age they are spotted at. Ideally when a child is in third or fourth standard, they should be encouraged to take up a sport and start training consistently week after week without putting too much pressure on their body. They can also work on their endurance simultaneously and because they are impressionable at that stage, we can teach them the right way to play.”

Nahata also believes that with the NBA (National Basketball Association) now looking at development from a primary school level, we will see a better brand of players at the under-12, -14 and -16 levels, as they will have trained from a very young age and will learn certain skillsets of the game that can only be taught by the very best.