The first Mizoram NBA Academy graduate, Lalhnehpuia Chhakchhuak, has committed to the North Park University in Chicago, Illinois. The ‘Vikings’ are part of the NCAA Division III circuit.

The 6ft 1” point guard will be pursuing a Bachelors in Psychology degree, with the goal to transfer to a higher Division program before exploring professional playing opportunities.

First Mizoram NBA Academy Graduate

Lalhnehpuia or ‘Naua’ as his NBA Academy India batchmates call him, has previously represented Mizoram State in the Sub Junior (U13) National Championship.

He was initially coached by H Laldinsanga, the first and only male player from the North East to have represented the Indian national team.

READ: Mizoram Basketball 101 – Everything you need to know about basketball in India’s North-East State

Naua then went on to participate in the 2018 Jr NBA program conducted by Scott Flemming, after which he was invited to tryout for the NBA Academy India.

“I model my game after Chris Paul. At his height, he can dominate [by] using his mind,” Naua told reporters during a media interaction earlier today, in which Team Ekalavyas participated.

Goal to be second India player from Mizoram

Besides pursuing professional playing opportunities abroad and having sports psychology as a “backup plan”, Naua hopes to one day represent the Indian national team.

“I want to be an inspiration for young Mizo basketball players,” Naua said, while highlighting the exposure and coaching he received through his three-year stint at the NBA Academy India in Greater Noida.

“I was very shy initially [when I entered NBA Academy]. I didn’t know what impression [others] had of a North East guy. As a point guard, it is also difficult because I had to call out plays. Slowly I started to bond more closely with my teammates and [I am] more confident [now].”

ALSO READ: How to get admission in NBA Academy India?

Naua is the sixth male athlete from NBA Academy India to secure a US scholarship, and the 16th overall.

You can check out the full list of Indian basketball players abroad here


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Gopalakrishnan R
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