Hyderabad: For 14-year-old Pranav Varma, it was once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The city basketball player has been selected to the Indian junior NBA team that will compete in the second Junior NBA Championship scheduled to be held in Florida from August 6 to 11.
A pool of 20 boys and 20 girls has been selected after Junior NBA Skills Challenge, city competitions and National Finals. He showed exceptional skills to make it to the top 10 boys who were selected for the Indian team after a two-day selection camp in May. And Pranav is the first Telangana player to be part of this team.
The Sreenidhi International School Class X student is over the moon on the selection and wants to make the most of the tour in terms of gaining experience to learn new things. “It is a once-in-a-life time opportunity for me. I was very happy when I came to know that I was selected. I would like to learn as much as possible from this tour. I would love to see the top quality players compete in the tournament and learn from them,” said Pranav who leaves for the US on August 2 along with the Indian team.
To make it to any national side, it takes a lot of hard work. Pranav showed that in abundance as he started playing basketball just two years ago when he was 12 years and now made it to the national side. “Then I started playing with my friends for fun. It was only last year I started taking training professionally at my school Sreenidhi Sports Academy. I am delighted that I made rapid strides in less time. This gives me a lot of confidence. I practiced hard for this. I start training from 5 am to 7.45 am,” said the point guard.
However, this is only one facet of the multi-talented youngster. Basketball is not his first love. He started playing cricket at a very young age and went to lead Hyderabad team in the under-14 south zone tournament. He was also part of the Hyderabad under-16 team that competed in the Vijay Merchant Trophy. A left-arm orthodox spinner and a left hand batsman, Pranav plays for India Cements in the HCA A division three-day league.
Pranav is now at crossroads. He is not sure on what to pursue in his future – cricket or basketball. But he is keen to live in the moment and concentrate on the opportunities at hand. With HCA leagues going on simultaneously, he is going to miss a few league matches for this basketball tournament. “Right now, I got this opportunity and I am focusing on basketball. Playing in NBA is a great opportunity. Once I go to US and play the tournament, I will decide depending on the opportunities that come my way,” added Pranav who also represented Middlesex in the under-12 age category and played at Lord’s in the junior tournament. He trains in cricket form 3 pm to 7 pm in the evening. Balancing two games along with studies will be a tough job to handle, but the youngster is quite happy to do so. “Now that I will be 10th standard, I have to balance my studies as well,” concluded Pranav who admires Stephen Curry and Kobe Bryant.