There is no dearth of talent in in India which gives it an opportunity to be an Asian powerhouse in basketball, feels Indian origin Vin Bhavnani, an assistant coach of NBA team Oklahoma City Thunders.
“I was surprised when I was there in 2012, I didn’t know what to expect. The natural skill level of some of the players was there. Some players had very good speed and physical attributes. I was very encouraged about what I saw there as far as the level of talent at that time,” Bhavnani said during an interaction.
“I do think talent is there. I think we have an opportunity to be one of the best teams in Asia. I think it came through in 2014 when India beat China and I think that should lead to more momentum going forward,” Bhavnani also said. “There were so many good coaches then and now with the NBA Academy in India, there is so much more access to the sport,” he added.
About the NBA season that was suspended following the COVID-19 outbreak and the Oklahoma Thunders recently reopening training facilities, he said:“The NBA has done such a great job in terms of detailing safety guidelines. So our main priority is to follow them and be safe.”
On reports that athletes should be training with their masks on and the difficulty in it, he said it was a question of just following what they have been told to do. “No, not at all. Just following what they tell us to do and seeing the positives. We’ve got great people with the NBA and they’ve really thought things through in terms of safety and that is the number one priority,” Bhavnani, whose parents are from Ahmedabad, said.
Oklahoma was doing well before the season was halted and asked how the support staff keeps the players, motivated and in shape after a long break like this, he said “you don’t have your hands on them but we have training staff and we send out films and workouts, that sort of thing is definitely there.”