NEW DELHI – The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced the official opening of NBA Academy India, an elite basketball training center at Jaypee Greens Integrated Sports Complex in Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) for the top male and female prospects from throughout India.
Twenty-one elite male prospects, who were selected following a three-month, nationwide basketball talent search, will receive scholarships and training at NBA Academy India, the first of its kind in the country.
Today’s opening event, which included a traditional Indian “lamp lighting” ceremony, oncourt drills and a scrimmage among the prospects, was attended by NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum and NBA India Managing Director Yannick Colaco.
NBA Academy India will employ a holistic, 360-degree approach to player development with focuses on education, leadership, character development and life skills. As part of the program, the students will compete against top competition throughout the year and will have an opportunity to be selected for travel teams that play in international tournaments and exhibition games.
“The opening of our first academy in India is an important milestone in the NBA’s efforts to grow basketball in India and demonstrates our commitment to developing talent and shaping the game’s future here,” said Tatum. “These 21 young athletes and those who will attend this academy in the years to come will receive world-class coaching and training to help them fulfill their potential on and off the court.”
Three experienced coaches have been selected to guide the development of the players at NBA Academy India. Ray Farrell, who has coached at the collegiate level in the U.S. and conducted basketball camps internationally for 36 years, will serve as Technical Director and will oversee all aspects of oncourt and offcourt development. Jacques Vandescure, a former professional player and former NBA scout who has coached across Africa, will serve as the Player Development Coach. Todd Gates, a former coach at the NCAA Division I level for 10 years, will serve as the Strength and Conditioning Coach. WNBA Legend Jennifer Azzi will be the Technical Director of the girls program at the academy.
The official opening of NBA Academy India follows the launch of academies in Hangzhou, Jinan and Urumqi, China; Thies, Senegal; and the planned launch of NBA Global Academy in Canberra, Australia. NBA Academies include educational development for top international male and female prospects and mark the NBA’s most significant investment in elite player development. The initiative exposes elite prospects to NBA-level coaching, facilities and competition and provides a global framework for elite prospects to maximize their success.
NBA Academy India builds on the NBA’s existing basketball and youth development initiatives in India. The Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program has reached more than 6 million youth and trained more than 5,000 physical education instructors nationwide since its launch in 2013. On April 7, the NBA launched NBA Basketball School, a network of tuition-based basketball development programs around the world open to international male and female players ages 6-18. The first NBA Basketball School launched in Mumbai, India as part of a multiyear agreement with India On Track (IOT), one of India’s leading sports management, marketing and development companies. Additional NBA Basketball Schools will be launched in India and around the world in the coming months.