Excited at the prospect of becoming the first Indian to play in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) league, Geethu Anna Jose is quite confident of making it to the big stage.

The six feet two inch tall hoopster from Kerala is eagerly awaiting the results of her tryouts with Chicago Sky, Los Angeles Sparks and San Antonio Silver Stars. She believes that her feat will inspire many more basketball aspirants back home to put their right foot forward.

“It was a great experience. Had to perform different sort of drills, it was hard but it was a wonderful experience. They were impressed by my skills and I am hoping to be a part of the WNBA.

“My stay here will definitely inspire the budding players in India. We have the talent but we need good coaching to reach the top rung,” Jose told PTI from San Antonio in the U.S.

Elaborating on the tryouts, 25—year—old Jose said that it was basically a test of her skills and her knowledge about the game.

“They basically wanted to see how fast I can move, how swift I can be, how well I rebound and my shooting skills.

There was also a one—on—one session with the coaches pertaining to my know-how about the game.

“The hard thing, though, was that after every drill I had to shoot. But since I was doing it in the company of other players it appeared to be lot easier. And shooting is something which I have been doing all the while. I did it, now it is up to them,” Jose said.

The hoopster also said that the fast and aggressive nature of the game there makes it quite different to what she is used to, and emphasised on the need of a good physical strength to prevail at the highest level.

“There is a lack of competition in India. But the players here are very fast and aggressive, something which we are not used to. So it becomes important to have a good physical strength,” Jose said while replying to question about any facet of her game which needs to be improved.

Jose, however, said that she has been working hard on her fitness and also acknowledged the role of senior women’s coach Tamika Raymond in helping her prepare for the international competition.

Troy Justice, NBA’s director of basketball operations in India, who has been working with Jose in her build—up to the tryouts, reiterated that the hoopster’s physical strength is one area which is up to the coaches to assess.

Justice, however, remained confident about Jose’s future and said that she is a “legitimate prospect”.

“She has great skills for her size, great athleticism and good IQ about the game, she is a legitimate prospect and it is an opportunity for the coaches to assess her first hand.

“One thing which makes her unique is that she is very very quick, and a great learner of the game. It will be right to say that she is a student of the game,” he said.

Jose also emphasised on the role of Australia’s Ringwood Hawks, a lower division team in the WNBL (Women’s National Basketball League), in shaping her international career.

“It was at Ringwood Hawks that my dream to play in WNBA was born. It was there I learnt to be very strong. The coaching I received during my stay with the club helped me to improve my game immensely,” she said.

Jose represented the club during 2006, 2007 and 2008 and also won the Most Valuable Player award for her excellent show in the final year of her appearance for the side.

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