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"The talent pool continues to get deeper" - Sacramento Kings assistant coach Roy Rana discusses basketball in India, NBA during the pandemic and more

Roy Rana during his visit to India in 2019 [Image: NBA India]
Roy Rana during his visit to India in 2019 [Image: NBA India]
Raunak J
Modified 28 Mar 2021

Roy Rana's affiliation with basketball in India goes back a long way. He was a part of the Basketball Without Borders Camp in New Delhi in 2008, which was the NBA's first event in the country. He would then host a Coaches Clinic during the NBA India Games 2019 as an assistant coach on the Sacramento Kings.

On Saturday, March 27th, Roy Rana held an interactive session with basketball enthusiasts as part of the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program. The Indo-Canadian coach is most certainly thrilled about the growth of basketball in India.

"I've been around Indian talent a few times now. I did the Basketball Without Borders camp in Delhi in 2008," Rana said. "I was obviously part of the NBA India Games last year as we got the season going and the Coaches Clinic. I'm very impressed with what's going on with the NBA India Academy and the programs that the NBA is providing."

Roy Rana has been able to take a closer look at the talent pool in India on multiple occasions now and had the following to say:

"There's some intriguing young talent. I think the thing that's encouraging is that the talent pool continues to get deeper. You want a deep talent pool of lots of kids who have the potential of playing at a high level and I think that's what we're seeing now in India."

Roy Rana discusses the complexities of navigating through the pandemic

Sacramento Kings at the AdventHealth Arena in Orlando
Sacramento Kings at the AdventHealth Arena in Orlando

The ongoing pandemic has disrupted lives at every level. While most people are finding it tough to get on a basketball court safely, NBA teams have to navigate through the risks of the coronavirus and play 72 regular season games in their respective markets.

Coach Roy Rana highlighted the routine that the teams follow on any given day:

"Starting this season, we're obviously traveling, we're back into somewhat of a normal travel routine with testing protocols, with your ability to get on the court for shorter windows. Most of the time we're traveling, in most cities, we're just in the hotels, we're not really out doing things."

Roy Rana then discussed the stress on the entire roster, both mental and physical:

"We're playing a lot of games in a shorter period of time so that puts some stress on all of us. Everyone has families at home, everyone has others in their lives that they care about. Sometimes we forget about that because we look at basketball players as just individual brands."

Despite the risks and challenges that the 2020-21 NBA season has presented, Rana is happy with the league's execution so far.

"It's always a challenge, but so far it's been well-managed," Rana said. "There's obviously been some scares with positive tests on teams but for the most part it's been a great plan and we've executed it well."

Roy Rana also took a moment to address last season's bubble run, where things weren't as clear. He compared this year's situation to the ending of last season where teams were isolated at Disney World in Orlando.

"The bubble setup was very reminiscent of international competitions when you come together with the team and isolate yourself in preparation for a tournament," Rana remarked. "This was obviously a bit more extreme because we were there for a longer period of time and self-contained in one facility. That was very anxious for us to begin with...we didn't really know what we were heading into."

The situation back in 2020 was clearly more uncertain than it is today, as can be inferred from Roy Rana's remarks.

Roy Rana commends Sacramento Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton

Tyrese Haliburton
Tyrese Haliburton

Tyrese Haliburton has been amongst the bright spots for the Sacramento Kings this season. The point guard has averaged 13.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and five assists per game in his rookie year. Roy Rana has been impressed by Haliburton's winning mentality. He elaborated:

"Probably the most impressive thing about him [Tyrese Haliburton] is the way he plays, it's all about winning. If he scores 10 points in a game, he'll get you five or six assists, bunch of rebounds and a key steal. Or he could come out on a night and get you 25 and help you that way. For a rookie player to have that impact on a game at this level is really, really impressive. He's certainly our Rookie of the Year."

Roy Rana continued the plaudits and explained what separates Haliburton from the rest of the pack:

"His mental attributes, ability to stay focused, his ability to bounce back when he makes a mistake and move on to the next play, his ultimate confidence and willingness to put it out there every night and trying to be the best he can is what separates him."

The Sacramento Kings are on a three-game winning streak as of this writing. They're finally getting their campaign back on track after some patchy spells. We wish Roy Rana all the best as he tries to help the Kings end their 15-year playoff drought.

Published 28 Mar 2021, 06:20 IST
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