Mumbai, 11th June, 2016: Pritish Jitesh Kokate, a player from the state of Maharashtra has been nominated to be a part of the International U15 Camp to be organised by the Qatar Basketball Federation, that is to be held from the 18th to the 22nd of June, 2016.

Pritesh, whose teammates call him Koku, was born in Pimpri-Chinchwad and has been playing basketball since he was 9 years old. The 14-year-old, who measures 185 cms (shade over 6ft) and weighs in at 66 kgs has been part of 4 different teams and has been a post presence and rebounder for them all. From 2012 onward, he has been part of the Kamalnayan Bajaj School and the Sharp Shooters Club. For the seasons of 13-14 and 15-16, he was part of the Maharashtra State Team (SGFI) and has played for Maharashtra (through the MSBA and with the added role of Captain) in 2015-2016.

Kokate (in white) contests a shot

Kokate (in white) contests a shot

Summer Camp

Like many other players, he was first asked to play the game during a summer camp by his Coach, Nikhil, because he was tall. Apart for Nikhil, he also credits Mr. Joel Williams and Mr. Shrikanth as having been an influence on his game, teaching him how to use his physical tools to make him a more effective player.

Kokate (in white) defends on the perimeter

Kokate (in white) defends on the perimeter

His first memory of basketball is being selected to be on the team in the 5th grade and then going on to play for the state. Kokate mentions the skyhook and pumpfakes as two of the favorite moves that he goes to. Real old-school stuff, that.

Training

At present Kokate’s regime involves about 2 hours of practice a day at school and up to 3 hours on Sundays. He also hits the weight room as he realizes that strength training will be important going forward. The drills with his team include soft touches around the basket, layups and of course, free-throws. The individual work that he puts in too is more fundamental than flashy, with rebounding and touches close to the basket.

Kokate of Maharashtra

Kokate of Maharashtra

The Message

Like any other kid, he loves LeBron and also Sambhaji Kadam, for the spirit that they play with, and like any other kid he wants to make it to the NBA some day and at the very least, wants to play more basketball. This selection to represent his state and country at the International Camp at Qatar represents one of his proudest moments, according to him. Speaking on the subject of the philosophy that he plays with, he references the same spirit that his idols have and he hopes that anybody taking up the sport will commit to it and work hard at it.

Anirudh Rangarajan
Leave a reply

Leave a Reply