February 17th, 2017

Kevin Durant to Join 21 Young International Players for NBA Academy India

Rob Lopez @R0BaTO
NBA Academy India

Kevin Durant (Noah Graham / Getty Images)

Former NBA MVP and eight-time NBA All-Star, six-time All-NBA member and four-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant will be the first player to join the best young players India has to offer when he goes to the new NBA Academy India this summer. The Golden State Warriors star will spend a part of his summer working with the youth of India and help develop the next crop of international stars.

The NBA Academy India is just the latest to open to have the NBA start a developmental program for the best international prospects around the world. The ‘Basketball Without Borders’ program is another initiative the NBA uses to help bring some of the best the NBA has to offer to international locations. Their goal is to get in select areas of the world early on, bring the coaching, preparation, and knowledge of the NBA game and help develop the game globally. With the recent influx of international players from everywhere around the world, it’s a no-brainer for the NBA to start up these youth programs.

The NBA announced the group for NBA Academey India in a press release.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the ACG Worldwide Group (ACG) on Saturday (Feb. 11, 2017) announced top 21 players from this year’s ACG-NBA Jump National Finals. The selected 24 (inclusive of the three players, who will be selected in the months prior to the opening of the NBA Academy) will become the first class to receive scholarships and training at NBA Academy India.

The selection of the 24 players at the National Final, held from Feb. 9-11, marked the culmination of the three-month nationwide program that conducted tryouts in six regions including Mumbai, Delhi, Ludhiana, Kochi, Chennai and Kolkata. The three-day camp held at the Jaypee Greens in Noida featured the top 45 prospects from across the country.

“ACG-NBA Jump has given basketball playing youth in India a pathway to make a career out of the sport We are committed to growing the program in the years to come,” said NBA India Managing Director Yannick Colaco. “The 24 players will now have a solid platform to prepare for the opportunity to move into the professional ranks.”

“The final pool of players represented the very goal of the program that was to identify, hone and create a pathway for the untapped talent pool of basketball players in India,” said ACG Director Karan Singh. “We wish the 24 winners all the very best for their future and hope they make the best of this unique opportunity they have earned through their hardwork and dedication.”

The 24 players will get scholarships and training at the NBA Academy India, an elite basketball training center in Delhi National Capital Region (NCR). NBA Academy India, the first of its kind in the country and the NBA’s fifth elite training center globally, will be fully funded by the NBA and will open in April 2017.

Kevin Durant also revealed that he would be joining NBA Academy India when it opens.

Durant also spoke about his excitement to visit India, work with the players and see the Taj Mahal.

Speaking on his visit, Durant said, “I will be the first NBA player going to the Academy. I’m super excited about it, to grow the game of basketball to a new level. I’m so excited about the grassroots program. I’m looking forward to it. It should be a great time.”

The NBA superstar had encouraging words for the 24 players selected to the NBA Academy India.

“I think it is just the fundamentals of dribbling, shooting, passing that you know and that crossovers no matter where you are as a basketball player. So when you get those fundamentals of the game right, that’s where you start at,” Durant said.

Durant is also keen to visit the Taj Mahal.

“Seeing the Taj Mahal has been on my bucket list for a while,” he said.

Here’s the current roster of athletes for the events.

NBA Academy India

NBA Academies will employ a holistic, 360-degree approach to player development extending beyond the court by focusing on education, leadership, character development and life skills. 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 2.7 million youth and trained more than 2,000 physical education instructors nationwide since its launch in 2013. The NBA launched ACG-NBA Jump, India’s first national basketball talent search program, in 2015 and provided the top player with the opportunity to attend the NBA Development League National Tryout in the United States.

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