New Delhi: Basketball may not exactly be popular in India but the country has got enough talent and infrastructure to promote the sport, feels National Basketball Association`s (NBA) director of international development, Akash Jain.
"India has got strong young talent which needs to be explored through right kind of coaching. There is a great passion for the game and kids are ready to learn," Jain said.
"There is a solid foundation for the sport. Most schools and colleges have the courts but there is still scope for development, particularly with regards to indoor courts.”
"We have five indoor courts in India and we are in discussion with the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) to build more courts," Jain said.
Jain, who oversees the League`s overall development in India, while emphasising the various initiatives taken by the the NBA to promote the game said, "Currently we are more focused at grass-root level. We are building ways to foster the participation which is important for the game to develop."
The director stressed on the importance of technical know-how as a part of infrastructure development to propel the game.
"The NBA is committed to organise programmes for the kids and coaches for a sustained period of time, create clinics and impart hands-on knowledge to improve the skills of the coaches and players."
Asked whether the NBA is looking to build any specialized academies in India to spur the growth of basketball, Jain said, "We can explore the option in future."
On whether the NBA is planning to hold more leagues in the future on the lines of the `Mahindra NBA Challenge`, Jain said, "It is a community based programme and we are working with Federation to extend it to 10 cities in March."
The tournament was held in five cites across India this year in comparison to the previous year`s edition, which witnessed three cities hosting the event.
Expressing his pleasure at NBA`s association with the BFI, Jain said, "It has been a great partnership. The Federation (BFI) has been a core development partner and has been vital in the growth of the sport."
"NBA will continue consult and advice BFI on different prospects to grow the basketball in India."
Jain said basketball is an "inclusive game" and India has got the right kind of atmosphere for its growth.
Jain NBA will instill "passion and professionalism" among the budding prospects.
Jain said an exciting future awaits the game ahead. "The future is extremely bright and exciting. There is a great passion for the game. Youth are tech savoy and keen to learn and there is a huge young population which is helpful in building a sound fan-base," Jain insisted.