After signing former NBA draft pick Satnam Singh, the United Basketball Alliance (UBA) is announcing the signing of 29 additional standout Indian players to multi-year contracts amounting to over Rs 16 crores. With the fifth season of UBA on the horizon, the league has taken another giant step in deepening its commitment to the development of basketball in India.
Raising the Game to a whole new level again
Palpreet Brar of Bengaluru Beast puts up a shot
Basketball players in India have always relied on their day jobs to make ends meet and to support their pursuit of becoming better players. For the first time in Indian basketball, players have been signed to professional contracts at par with global standards. The signed players now have an opportunity to dedicate themselves fully towards their sport and towards getting better. The contracts are an investment for the players and it allows them to work towards the future they envisioned as professional basketball players.
“I still remember the day I signed my first professional contract in the NBA,” says former L.A. Laker A.C. Green, the UBA’s Director of Sport. “It left a huge impression on my life. Now, these players get to experience that same feeling that I once had upon signing my first contract. We are excited about our upcoming season and the future of Indian basketball.”
Jagdeep Bains of Mumbai Challengers drives past Akashdeep Hazra of Haryana Gold
The contracts range in length from 3 to 5 years and in addition to being the first multi-year contracts in Indian basketball history, the signed players will also receive basketball and physical training from top experts in the USA, along with nutritional guidance to help them maximize their potential.
Life-changing opportunity for basketball players in India
For a basketball player to be able to perform at their full potential and grow to reach their ceiling, they need to be able to afford membership to gyms, purchase training equipment, maintain a balanced and nutritional diet, have comfortable travel and accommodation, afford good medical care the list goes on. The players now have a unique opportunity to single-mindedly focus on their training.
Siddhant Shinde of Pune Peshwas in action
Speaking of the opportunity, Pune Peshwas’ guard Siddhant Shinde said, "I feel ecstatic and humbled to be able to make my passion my profession. It's a privilege to be a part of UBA and a new wave in the field of sports and particularly basketball in India."
In addition to letting the players invest in themselves, this move also gives young basketball fans a tangible goal to shoot for. Knowing that if they put in the work, they have an excellent opportunity at home in India to display their talents at the highest level and pursue playing basketball as a rewarding profession.
When Mumbai Challengers’ Assistant Coach Sudeep Bose coached Kerala’s team in the 68th Junior National Basketball Championship (2017), UBA League Assistant Coach Jon Kimberlin was present to see them in action. He was enthused at watching the young players’ potential, "We came here because we wanted to see what junior basketball looked like. We wanted to really see who our future players are going to be. Now we have a list of all of the players from the junior nationals and we will be keeping a close eye on what they are doing because we will be recruiting them in the future to play for UBA.”
Basketball can now officially be considered as a true professional endeavor for players in India. For an Indian basketball player to have a future playing professionally, the only option was to go abroad. Not anymore.
Muin Bek of Delhi Capitals finishes up close
The list of players signed includes the very best players in India which already includes Satnam Singh (first Indian drafted in the NBA), several who currently represent India internationally or have in the past. Standout international talent like Palpreet Brar of Bengaluru Beast (first Indian to have been drafted by an NBA G-League Team), Jagdeep Singh Bains of Mumbai Challengers (has captained India; mentor to Satnam Singh), Rikin Pethani of the Chennai Slam (represented India at FIBA Asia Cup in 2016 and 2017) and Yadwinder Singh of Haryana Gold (veteran Indian team star) headline the list of signed players.
The list of players signed also includes stars who represented India in the recently concluded FIBA Asia Cup 2017, such as Muin Bek and Anil Kumar of Delhi Capitals and Prasanna Venkatesh of Mumbai Challengers.
UBA Director of Coaching, Jody Basye says, “We have so many great players who have been waiting for this opportunity. To finally get them under contract and in the gym every day will be a huge boost to our league and the sport.”
Garry Gill of Punjab Steelers has size, hops and skills to push the ball up
List of players signed with UBA to multi-year deals:
Bengaluru Beast- Palpreet Brar, Loveneet Singh Atwal, Kaif Zia, Visu Palani and Khushmeet Singh Atwal
Chennai Slam- Agu, Cammy Carmel, Rikin Pethani
Delhi Capitals- Anil Kumar, Muin Bek and Vinay Kaushik
Haryana Gold- Yadwinder Singh, Akashdeep Hazra and Himanshu Sharma
Mumbai Challengers- Jagdeep Singh Bains, Prasanna Venkatesh, Prudhvi Reddy, Jeevanathan and Dildar Brar
Pune Peshwas- Siddhant Shinde, Arshpreet Bhullar, and Ajinkya Mane
Punjab Steelers- Garry (Gurvinder Singh Gill), Sagar Joshi, Harmanpreet Singh, Taj Sandhu and Kaushal
The list also includes Satnam Singh, TJ Sahi (played for Bengaluru Beast in UBA Season 1) and Vikas Mor (played for Haryana Gold in UBA Season 1 and 2).
UBA is a professional basketball league with teams based in key cities across India for fans of all ages. UBA provides an in-arena entertainment experience unlike anything else found in India. UBA’s broadcast team includes an Emmy Award-winning crew from the United States. UBA teams are divided into two divisions, North and South. North Division teams include Mumbai Challengers, Delhi Capitals, Punjab Steelers and Haryana Gold. South Division teams include Bengaluru Beast, Pune Peshwas, Chennai Slam and Hyderabad Sky. UBA is headquartered in Pune.