On an invite from the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), India's star hoopster Geethu Anna Jose will be leaving for the United States of America on April 23 (Saturday) to take part in try-outs for three WNBA teams, Chicago Sky, Los Angeles Sparks and San Antonio Silver Stars. The 2011 season begins in June.
Inaugurating a new basketball court at the residence of Andrew Simkin, the US Consul General in Chennai on Thursday, Geethu said it's has been a “dream come true and an honour” to be considered for try-outs with the three teams.
If selected, the 25-year-old who is an employee of Southern Railway (Chennai) will be the first Indian basketball player to play professional sports in the United States.
Troy Justice, Director, India Operations for the US-based National Basketball Association (NBA) said Geethu will have an exclusive stint with the coaching staff of each team separately.
“Geethu will be in USA for 10 days spending two days each with the three teams. It will be coaching staff and Geethu and nobody else during the selection trials. It's a unique opportunity,” he said.
With the WNBA draft for all the three teams nearly over, what are the realistic chances of Geethu figuring in the team's scheme of things? Troy replied that the roster for teams is still not over.
“The draft is generally for college players in USA. The process (of selecting players) is still on,” he said.
Troy, while denying that all this was a “marketing gimmick, said he was confident that Geethu would do well in the trials.
K.N. Ramajeyam, President, Tamil Nadu Basketball Association, said Tiruchi will soon have a full-fledged basketball academy at the Care School of Engineering Campus.
Ashok Verghese, Director, Hindustan Group of Institutions, handed over a cheque for Rs. 1 lakh cheque on Wednesday to sponsor Geethu's US trip.