Mumbai, Aug 12 (IANS) So focussed was Riyanshu Negi on playing basketball and studying in Canada that he kept bombarding Todd McKillop, head coach, Crandall University, with emails, seeking an opportunity to be part of his team.
And it finally came to him a few weeks back and the NBA Academy India graduate Negi immediately committed to Crandall University in New Brunswick, Canada. He will attend Crandall University on a scholarship starting September. He becomes the third NBA Academy India graduate to sign with a collegiate programme in North America. The others are Pranav Prince, Amaan Sandhu and Lalhnehpuia Chhakchhuak.
“I started emailing the coach last year and at that time he was like, they only make offers to three international students and the coach was like ‘I really want you, but I can’t have you because of the policy’. He already had three international players. So, I kept on emailing. He was like ‘I might have an international spot’ and I was really excited. As I said I have been emailing the coach from last year and so it meant a lot to get this chance,” said Negi during an online interaction on Thursday. He said he was really excited about playing in Crandall University.
Negi, who joined NBA Academy India in 2017 as part of the inaugural class of student-athletes, most recently played for DME Sports Academy in Daytona Beach, Florida.
During his time at NBA Academy India, the 19-year-old shooting guard from Roorkee, Uttarakhand competed in several international basketball events, including the 2017 and 2018 NBA Academy Games and 2017 NBA Asia Pacific Camp in China.
Coach McKillop said among the things in Negi that attracted him was his persistence as he kept in touch over email, sending him his videos.
“Riyanshu brings a very high basketball IQ with him and the ability to shoot the ball from deep,” said McKillop.
“He also has great maturity and plenty of leadership potential and will be a great fit within our programme’s culture.”
In addition to Negi, five other NBA Academy India student-athletes have committed to high school, prep school and collegiate basketball programmes in the United States.
They include Jagshaanbir Singh (Golden State Prep, Point Park University), Pranav Prince (First Love Christian Academy), Amaan Sandhu (First Love Christian Academy), Harshwardhan Tomar (KEBA Preparatory School) and Lalhnehpuia Chhakchhuak (North Park University). Princepal Singh is the first NBA Academy India graduate to sign a professional contract when he joined NBA G League Ignite for the 2020-21 season.
Asked where does he see himself 10 years down the line, Negi said he wants to play pro basketball in Europe, Japan, Australia or any other top country.
“Of course, playing in NBA is the dream for every basketball player. I want to play as a professional basketball player at the highest level,” he said adding that representing India internationally is his another dream.
“It is an honour to represent the country, so I definitely want to represent India at the international level,” said Negi.