Richer with Italian experience, Harsh looks to surge ahead with confidence

After spending more than a year with Stellaazzura Basketball Academy in Italy, the Madhya Pradesh player has returned home to play the Senior Nationals, richer with experience.

Harsh Tomar believes playing with the Italian Club has instilled in him a good 'game sense'.   -  Stellaazzura Academy

At 6'7'', basketball was a natural option for young Madhya Pradesh player Harsh Tomar.

While young players long for an exposure and experience from foreign clubs to hone their skills, Harsh was lucky to land himself a contract with an Italian Club Stellaazzura Basketball Academy. 

His Italian club has produced players such as Andrea Bargnani (played for Toronto Raptors), Davide Moretti (played for Texas Tech) and Ojars Silins (international Latvian player).  After spending more than a year on foreign shores, the Madhya Pradesh player has returned home to play the Senior Nationals, richer with experience.

"We have players from 19 different countries in my club. Last year, we had players from 24 countries. The average age of the players in my club is 20. So we are all energetic and excited always. I have made good contacts and my game skills have improved tremendously as we play different game styles.

"Playing with and against good players helps us improve by leaps and bounds and that is what has happened with me," a beaming Harsh said on the sidelines of the 68th Senior National Championship in Chennai. 

Playing in the center and forward, Harsh has his task cut out. "My duty is to go for the rebounds. I am the tallest player in my club. My coach has trained me to run from rim to rim. And, it is evident that I must run more than everyone in the court. I also play in the forward for my club at times. My endurance has reached a peak point and I am feeling good about it," the 17-year-old added. 

According to Harsh, he has developed a good 'game sense' from his Italian coaches. "Many major clubs play the assisting game very well. I have got a good sense of passing and assist. Unfortunately, many players here receive the ball and just shoot, which might not work wonders in the long run. Teamwork gets prominence abroad. That gives us good exposure too," Harsh explained. 

Harsh is on full scholarship from the School of California and is currently studying in the G10 level via distance education. "It is a school approved by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). It has been a dream to be playing in this league and it is touted as one of the best college leagues in the world. And since we play in the second tier of Italian league, we also have a lot of scouts from big teams keeping an eye on our performances. It has been a good and fruitful journey so far," he said.