Almost a year ago, 17-year-old Mohali basketball player Amaan Sandhu had played a vital role in guiding the Punjab team to the junior national title at Patna. The 6 feet and 11 inches tall Mohali player, who was the youngest member of the Indian basketball team in the FIBA Asia Qualifiers held in Dubai in February this year, was hopeful of repeating the same for Punjab in this year’s junior nationals to be held this month before the tournament was postponed.
Now, since the past 50 days, Sandhu has been practicing his dribbling skills at home, when not helping his mother with household chores. The Punjab player sees this phase as a learning curve too.
“I had come from NBA Academy India in March and the lockdown has meant that there are no active sport competitions apart from being confined to the home. While my father is busy in his Punjab Police duty, I practice dribbling with my mother and sister at our home. When my father returns, I talk with him about basketball and see technical videos. I am also doing the work outs as told by my NBA Academy India coaches Scott Fleming, Todd Gates and Ronald Cass and completing the activity challenges. Apart from that, I have also conducted online lessons for NBA India for school children. The biggest thing which this lockdown has taught me is discipline and following the routine rigorously makes one stronger mentally too,” shares Sandhu.
Sandhu’s parents, Gursharanjeet Singh Sandhu and Rajinder Kaur Sandhu too are basketball players.
He shifted to Mohali with his parents in 2013, and grew up seeing his father and mother representing the Indian basketball teams. The youngster, who once weighed 130 kg, initially trained at the Sector 42 Sports Complex and was selected for the NBA Academy India in 2017. This year saw Sandhu attending the NBA Basketball without Borders camp in USA before he was selected in the Indian team for the FIBA Asia Qualifiers at Dubai. Even though Sandhu did not get a chance to play in the two matches at Dubai, but the youngster calls the time spent in the Indian camp a motivating experience. “To be selected in the Indian team and being the youngest member of the team was a special moment for me. Even though I did not play in any of the two games, seeing senior players perform in the matches and listening to their experiences helped me a lot. Our captain Vishesh Briguvanshi made sure that I was his roommate and he would often discuss team tactics with me. When we won against Iran, a win which ended India’s two-year losing streak in the qualifiers, the captain and coaches made sure that the reserve players join the celebrations,” adds Sandhu, who represented NBA Academy India in third NBA Academy Games in USA last year.
While spending time on his studies to achieve his aim of getting a scholarship from universities in USA, the youngster has also been seeing videos of his favorite NBA players. Sandhu has also seen six episodes of The Last Dance, a ten-part documentary series on former Chicago Bulls player Michael Jordan. “I saw training videos of NBA players like Demarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis and LeBron James to understand their tactics and approaches on the court. I have also seen the six episodes of The Last Dance documentary. Michael Jordan’s story and how he along with Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen helped Chicago Bulls maintain supremacy in NBA inspires players like me,” concludes Sandhu.
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