With 22-year-old Gursimran ‘Sim’ Bhullar making the leap to the NBA as the first player of Indian descent — thanks to a 10 day contract offered by the Vivek Ranadive owned Sacramento Kings — the time is ripe to begin our new column tracking key player movements. Apart from Sim Bhullar and Satnam Singh, there are dozens of Indian-origin players playing college and pro level basketball in foreign leagues. Most hearteningly, recent years have also seen talented Indian nationals willing to travel abroad to pursue basketball opportunities. One of the earliest to do so, is Nalgonda native Prudhvi Reddy, an ex-junior India player, who first spent a year in Spain at the Europe Basketball Academy (EBA), before shifting to the USA. We track his latest moves:
Name: Ambati Prudhvishwar Reddy
Date of Birth: 23-1-1996
Height: 183 cms
Which year did you leave EBA for USA? Why?
I left EBA in June 2014 and came to India to play the SABA games. I then left for the United States on Nov 11 2014 because my dream has always been to play college ball. I thought education is more important in life so I chose to go to the States and play College ball with a degree in hand and continue my dreams to play for the NBA or Overseas.
What is the name of the school you are currently studying in? Which place is it in?
Do you miss home/India? How often do you come to India?
Yes I do because it’s after all my homeland. I think once a year.
How has your experience been so far playing in the US? How different is it than playing in Europe?
My experience in US so far is really great and adventurous. I’ve learnt many advanced methods in shooting, dribbling and defense. I love the competition out here; the guys here are athletic enough to jump over you and dunk. If I would compare Europe and America, you don’t see much difference because both countries are really top-class in their own styles of playing basketball. So I can’t really differentiate. But Europe is more fundamental (meaning they play with the team) and America is more about individual skills and abilities.
What are your future plans in terms of college?
My future plans in terms of college is to complete my 4 years of education and college basketball career on a high note and do the best I can do to make it to the League or overseas, and be successful in my future business according to my educational qualification.
Do you think you have what it takes to become India’s first NBA player? What works in your favour and what do you see as obstacles?
The fact that I’m the 1st Indian basketballer to ever step out the box and play in both Spain and North America is actually a big thing. I’m just trying to get my name up there and work as hard as I can to make it to the NBA and make my country proud. I left my house when I was 17 years old to go to Spain and had a great session out there with 20-35+ professionals and came back to my country and represented my Indian team. Now I’m in America and I’m the captain of my School team here. So yes considering my upward trajectory so far, I really see myself in the league after a successful 4-5 year college career. I also have the support of good people from back home. These are the things which are in my favour.
When it comes to obstacles, I would say that I’m 162 lbs which is kind of light weight to play college ball as a point guard. Also, I need more exposure and if coaches give me a chance to prove myself, I would definitely make them believe in me and my work ethic towards basketball.