Basketball visionaries Robert Selby and Tanya Parker have joined hands with Bana ‘Baba' Ravinder at the St. Patricks Academy on Sebastian Road in Secunderabad to broad base what they call the greatest game in the world.
Their first day with Ravinder's trainees was an exhilarating experience. “The children were sponges, soaking up whatever we had for them,” said Selby, a product of the Five Star Academy at Honesdale in the mountains of Pennsylvania.
The said institution nurtured the game's greats such as Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Vince Carter among 400 who made it to the fiercely competitive National Basketball Association (NBA) league.
“The body language of the children here bristled with enthusiasm, matched by their willingness to learn, making it obvious that size didn't matter,” Selby noted.
“The girls seemed more thoughtful though,” said Tanya, a teacher turned business woman, who does the marketing, communication and fund-raising for World Class Athletic Development, the firm the duo has set up. “In a five-year pilot project, we hope to build a 100,000-strong basketball community in India,” she says, which doesn't sound far-fetched but quite feasible.
With that in view and after a three-week scheme at St. Patricks, they hope to hold a residential camp for junior national players from Andhra Pradesh, then collaborate with Hoops India in Delhi and later watch the youth Nationals at Chennai.
Selby, a former Division One player and protégé of Aaron Mattes (www.stretchingusa.com), sports medicine guru to Olympians and such celebrities, seeks to disseminate the acclaimed wisdom of Five Star whiz coach Howard Garfinkel.
“Training began at 5.00a.m. and took us through stations focussing on injury prevention, conditioning, footwork, mental tune-up, ball-handling, dribbling and shooting,” said Selby, who seeks to share this expertise with children during weekdays and coaches over the weekend.
“We want to build a farm system of talent up to the state level and then let it take wing through exchange and training scholarships in line with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) model,” he added.
“We see our venture as sacred commerce, which benefits people and feeds more energy into the existing structure,” says Tanya. ‘Baba' Ravinder can be contacted for more details on 9440115459.