ABN India and EduSports are set to collaborate on setting up basketball academies in the Indian subcontinent. The two organizations that play very different functions in the world of sports, are set to combine forces to promote and develop the game of basketball.
The division of labor that they foresee, according to Chidanand Kumar (Director of ABN India) is that ABN India provides the entire range of technical expertise that their parent organization brings with them (this will include training Indian coaches for the indigenous academies). EduSports, for its part, will handle the marketing for the maiden venture of ABN in India. They are well placed to do this through their already sizable pool of clients, which comprises numerous schools across India.
The two entities hope to bring players together with professional coaches and league playing time to facilitate growth in basketball. To make all this possible, the tie-up will attempt first to tackle the infrastructure problem by ensuring that world- class facilities are available to those that decide to take the plunge into basketball.
The Assist Basketball Network
The Assist Basketball Network (ABN) is a consultancy group that engages a wide range of stakeholders in the sport of Basketball. With a network that spans 72 countries and having been in operation in one form or other since 1994 (Rob Friedrich started ABN as an international newsletter in 1994), it is one of the largest such organizations that connects a wide variety of individuals, such as: players, scouts, coaches and educational institutions.
ABN’s primary achievement in the International fora has been to connect individuals, prima-facie. While basketball and basketball operations has been at the heart of the ABN story, they also value human interaction and cultural exchange. This is evidenced by the ABN-EF Education tie-up that was designed to bring together players from across the globe so that they can experience other cultures and languages, besides also working on their game.
Rob Friedrich and what started as a coaching newsletter, is one of the better success stories in basketball. Rob’s success lies not only in the field of supercamps and scouting, but also in the realm of writing. He is the well-traveled author of ‘ABC’ Basketball, which is now in its 3rd edition. As a talent in coaching and scouting, not to mention as a player, Rob has established a name for himself as one of the more important figures in International Basketball.
ABN also has distinguished itself in terms of scouting and talent detection as is seen in the case of Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks and Marco Belinelli of the Sacramento Kings,who also won a championship with the Spurs in 2014 (Fun Fact: He is also the first player born in Italy to have won a championship). “I was fortunate and saw both of those young players when they were quite young.” said Rob, when asked about the role that ABN played in the scouting of these two players. “They already had the physical and technical skills to have their biographical data forwarded to NBA teams I was working with, and University Coaches I knew.”
EduSports is a Bengaluru based company that specializes in creating modules and curriculum for educational institutions that spans the often disparate fields of mental and physical skills. These modules are custom- made for different age groups and run the gamut from toddlers to middle schoolers.
Established in 2009 by Mr. Saumil Majmudar, they have come to influence 2, 00,000 children, 5000 teachers and 80,000 parents in over 80 Indian cities. Saumil, who is the CEO and Co- Founder of the organization is said to have been inspired by the concerns of a parent regarding the observed inadequacy of physical education in schools. What started there, has culminated in EduSports and their motto speaks volumes about their belief and motivation: “Holistic education through sports”.
The Tie- Up
The ABN India and EduSports tie- up should provide a major fillip to the gaping hole that is infrastructure, when it comes to basketball in India. The combine is all set to bring the entire experience of basketball training camps and professional coaching to India.
ABN brings to India a brand name, and will also be involved with connecting the Indian basketball scene to the International scene. Thus, it will be in-charge of getting the coaching and scouting talent that India sorely lacks. Training of Indian coaches on their part will ensure that the skill set is passed on. The annual supercamp of ABN will take place at the Jaypee Greens facility in Greater Noida from the 12th- 15th of August.
Scott Flemming, former Head Coach of the India Men’s National Team (formerly of the Texas Legends out of the NBA D- League) and current Head Coach of the Northwest Nazarene University is to be one of the international coaches who will be present at the aforementioned camp, according to Chidanand Kumar.
He also mentions that ABN India already has 4 locations in Bangalore, and will expand into the NCR region in July, with an additional 4. Stand- alone centers will also be established that will be independent of educational institutions and other affiliations.
ABN with its 2 decades of operating in the field of developing basketball talent is poised to bring this knowledge to India. EduSports as a company that already has deep roots in the educational systems of the country, can act as a natural conduit for ABN India and will effectively be their domestic partner even as they establish themselves in the country.
The joint venture will hopefully be exactly what India needs to connect its own nascent domestic basketball scene to the rest of the world. More than anything, if parents of children are encouraged by this, and promote basketball in the lives of their children, it would have an enormous impact at the high- school and college level that will be cumulative over generations.
According to Rob, Indian players will have opportunities similar to those that international players now have in the NBA, but that remains incumbent on players being developed, being coached by professionals and training from anywhere between 14-20 hours a week. Leagues (youth and adult), he said, would also allow top prospects to compete against each other and also showcase their potential to scouts. The supercamp will be a possible recruitment base for players who are 2.12 m and higher, and once skill levels rise, shorter players will begin to be recruited.