Two from TN make the cut for NBA Academy

Arvind Kumar and Shanmugam, both aged 16 years old, are looking forward to training at the Academy, and are eager to do their best

Tamil Nadu’s Shanmugan at the NBA camp in New Delhi.   -  Special Arrangement

The two teenagers from Tamil Nadu, who have been selected for the NBA Academy from among hundreds of hoopsters, after two round of trials in Chennai and Delhi, are excited to train at the Academy expected to be launched in April this year at the Delhi Capital National Region (NCR).

Arvind Kumar and Shanmugam, both aged 16 years old, are looking forward to training at the Academy, and are eager to do their best.

Shanmugam, a native of Tirunelveli, is now studying at the Sports Hostel in Salem, training under the watchful eyes of S. Bhaskar, a SAI coach. “It was because of Bhaskar sir that I was able to improve on my skill and make subtle changes in my jumps,” said Shanmugam, whose father R. Murugan is a fruit vendor while mother Bakkiyam works at Amma ‘Unavagam’.

The forward, who can do the job of a point guard if the need arises, said he was disappointed at not being able to participate in the National junior championship after injuring his ankle. “I was upset then. Now I am keen to take part in the next edition in April,” he said.

Chennai-based Arvind said it’s a great responsibility and honour to qualify. “The trials were tough. We had dribbles and matches. I know now I need to perform well,” he said.

Coached by former India player C. V. Sunny in his first two years and later by Dereck Hutson, Arvind said he learnt the basics from the former India captain. "Sunny sir taught us a lot of things. We also went to lot of tournaments,” said Arvind, who plays as a forward for his school Santhome HSS. He captained the Tamil Nadu youth (u-16) team in the Nationals championship late last year. Arvind’s father, Muttu Krishnan is a hockey player who (still) plays for Madras Port Trust. “He’s shown the interest, we have left it to him to make a mark in the sport. Let’s hope for the best,” said Krishnan.