United Basketball Alliance: Rewriting Indian basketball as we know it
Indian Basketball as we know it will never be the same; the United Basketball Alliance, or the UBA as it is more commonly known, is making sure of that. After the resounding success of their first season, the UBA is gearing up to give the Indian sports audience another season of entertainment that they hope to be an even bigger success.
With the games scheduled to be televised nationally on Ten Sports, the UBA are leaving no stone unturned. Not only have they been able to scout and bring over India’s best pool of talent in the game, they have also recruited some serious help from the USA to help nurture these talents.
Under the watchful eyes of Jody Basye, a Tucson native, a team of four coaches have flown in to help UBA take the next step towards realizing their potential. The players have gone through a draft and underwent rigorous training at the Jain University Campus situated at Kanakpura Road, just outside Bangalore.
A coach for 27 years, Jody sees great potential in the Indian players, but believes they need to be made more ‘basketball-aware.’ And that is what he says they are here for.
He, along with his three partners Dale Moe, Jon Kimberlin and his brother Andy Basye, held court for more than 12 hours a day, trying to refine and educate the young Indian ballers on different aspects of the game.
From the finer aspects of the game – like extending the shooting arm through the shot – to the fundamentals of ‘keeping those hips open,’ coach Basye and his team are working hard to inculcate the right way of playing basketball within these youngsters.
But just as you try to heap praise on them personally, he refuses to take all the credit. “It’s a partnership”, he says. “It’s a two-way process and we are fortunate ourselves that we get to teach some of the most coachable basketball players we have ever come across.
“We are eager to help them and on the same notes, they seem really hungry to take in whatever we want to teach them.”
Having moved into coaching at the tender age of 21 at Desert High School, back at Tucson, Arizona, Basye says this is perhaps the most fun that they have had while coaching.
The Jain University campus might be a far cry from New York’s Rucker Park, but he sees the same passion burning in each of the players as anyone he has seen back in his native country.
“The hunger is there, so is the passion”, he says. “But they need to be channelized properly. We have to hand them the right tools to be successful. And that’s what we are here for.”
The coaching, however, doesn’t stop there. They are also trying to make the brains work full tilt.
“Some of the players are already pretty athletic over here. But we need to mould them to become more hungry for success. It’s not only the physical aspect but psychological as well.”
From running suicide drills to making them fight out for that vital rebound, it’s a multi-dimensional conditioning that the players are going through. And the Indian basketball scene is all the better for it.
The UBA may not have found all-pervasive recognition in the sporting calendar of the Indian sub-continent yet. But the fledgling steps towards that direction seem to be extremely promising.