Tamil Nadu player on NBA’s global training programme radar

In what could be a career defining move for young Pushpa of Tamil Nadu, the hoopster was shortlisted by the Basketball Without Borders, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development programme.

Pushpa in Chennai on Saturday.   -  K. V. Srinivasan

In what could be a career defining move for young Pushpa of Tamil Nadu, the hoopster was short-listed by the Basketball Without Borders, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development programme.

The programme conducted annually since 2001 in America, Asia, Africa and Europe selects 12 boys and girls for a 15-day exposure trip to the United States of America. The selected boys and girls will play matches and train with the NBA-approved club players, of the same age group.

Pushpa, who trains at the SAI Mailaduthurai, has been shortlisted after an initial screening. The teenager, who plays in the post position, is overjoyed at the impending opportunity. “It is a good chance to hone my skills and improve on all aspects of my game. I haven’t got any more details on the same but as far as I know my coach, Mr. Manivasagam, told me that scouts from Basketball Without Borders have shortlisted my name for a camp. The coaching in foreign countries would be excellent and I hope to make the final cut and get this good opportunity,” a beaming Pushpa said.

The Tamil Nadu player said opportunities like these could go a long way in shaping up her career. “I have had the best of my time so far. We have been under two foreign coaches and I have grown in confidence a lot with this 45-day stint itself. The coaches have made me play in different positions and that helps in developing my game to a large extent. We have also played many practice matches and it has had a telling effect on my game. I am eager to hone my sills further with any available opportunity,” she added.

If things go well, Pushpa could well be the first player to embark on the global training programme paving the way for development of the sport in the country.