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Playing In NBA Is My Main Goal, Want To Change Stereotype About Indian players: Amaan Sandhu

Amaan Sandhu is aiming to play in the NBA and want to change the stereotype about the Indian players. At Monmouth University, his school will start from September while his pre-season camp will commence from November.

Playing In NBA Is My Main Goal, Want To Change Stereotype About Indian players: Amaan Sandhu
Amaan Sandhu

Amaan Sandhu, the first men’s NBA Academy India graduate to commit to an NCAA Division 1 school, has clear plans about his future after committing to Monmouth University in West Long Beach, New Jersey. The Mohali native picked up basketball out of choice and it was NBA India Academy which made him a professional basketball player. Sandhu credits his success to his NBA Academy India coaches and ACG-NBA Jump programme.

The 19-year-old is the third player overall from NBA Academy India to earn a Division I basketball scholarship, joining Sanjana Ramesh at Northern Arizona and Harsimran Kaur at San Diego on the women's side. He was scouted through the ACG-NBA Jump programme as part of the inaugural prospects for the NBA Academy India in May 2017.

In an exclusive interview to Jagran English, Sandhu shared his journey of making basketball his first love. Initially, the seven-foot tall was not interested in basketball despite being from a family of ballers.

"When I was 12 or 13 I used to be a swimmer. When I was 13, I told my dad that I will play basketball and went to the court and it was for the fun. When I turned 14, I played for my state team. That was the same time when ACG NBA were taking the trials for the Jump programme in 2017. I got selected in the main trial in New Delhi and that's when I got serious to basketball. I changed my mentally and told my parents that I wanna play basketball. I was not into basketball when I was a kid. My whole basketball journey started after 2017," Sandhu told Jagran English.

During Sandhu’s tenure with the Academy, he participated in three Basketball Without Borders (BWB) camps, including BWB Asia 2018 in India, BWB Asia 2019 in Tokyo, and BWB Global Camp 2020 in Chicago during NBA All-Star Weekend. He represented NBA Academy India at the 2018 NBA Academy games in Canberra, Australia. In April 2019, Sandhu participated in the NCAA's Next Generation Sunday event at the Final Four, where he was a part of life-skills sessions and competed in exhibition contests against players from around the world.

"I was in the NBA Academy from 2017 to 2020, It was an once in a lifetime experience. NBA Academy India is gonna be my home no matter how old I become. It played a huge part in my basketball career and lifestyle. NBA Academy programme has done a lot for me," said Sandhu remembering his NBA Academy India days.

NBA Academy India is an elite basketball training center for the top prospects from throughout India and the first of its kind in the country and supported by official partner ACG.

Talking about his first-hand experience at the Monmouth University, the baller said he liked the head coach King Rice and campus where he will study and train

"My head coach is King Rice at Monmouth University. When I went to visit it was so good the campus, arena, and the whole program is so nice. Coaching staff is so great, they care about players. It feels like coach Rice wants his players to succeed in life and basketball. The first time I met the coaching staff I had 45-50 minutes conversation with coach Rice. I felt the connection with him and I always wanted a coach like him," Sandhu told Jagran English.

Sandhu is aiming to play in the NBA and want to change the stereotype about the Indian players. At Monmouth University, his school will start from September while his pre-season camp will commence from November.

"The long-term goal is definitely to make it to the league (NBA) and change the stereotype about Indian players. I'm trying to change the stereotype about brown ballers. At the end of the day, NBA will be the main goal," he said.

In 2019, Sandhu played with the Indian Men's Senior National Team at the South Asian Games, resulting in a gold medal. He was also a member of the 2020 Indian National Team at the FIBA Asia qualifiers.

When asked about him representing India in the basketball Sandhu replied, "I want to represent my country. I'm so proud of myself to be part of the Indian team."

Sandhu joins the Monmouth Hawks at the center position. He will play D-1 NCAA basketball in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).

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