UBA Chairman Tommy Fisher is the man behind it all. “I think the main thing is just setting the standard of excellence and how much competition there is out there in this world of basketball,” says Fisher, who recently brought 15 of the UBA’s top players from India to the United States for a two week training camp. It is there where the selected Indian players got to train and play with the Americans who will be joining them for Season 4 in India.
Narender Grewal of the Pune Peshwas, who has represented India on the international stage before becoming the UBA’s Season 3 Most Valuable Player, was one of the players who attended the camp in Phoenix, Arizona. Narender not only worked on improving his already special abilities, but got a taste of how the UBA is about to become even better and faster. “The major difference between the Indian player and the American player is the speed,” says Narender. “The basic fundamentals are very different in terms of speed and moving fast. This will take a new turn for the next UBA session when it happens back in India.”
Another former Indian national team player who attended the camp in the USA is Jairam Jat of the Chennai Slam. Jairam agrees with Narender’s assessment. “I played basketball for my department, for the country many times, but after joining to UBA I have seen that the basketball is different in US and in our country.” Jairam added, “I think the alliance with UBA and the USA players and coaches has taken the game to a different level.”
The most experienced American player coming to India to play in UBA Season 4 is Alex Scales, who played briefly with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. Scales was a star at the University of Oregon before launching his pro career which has also included two different NBA D-League teams and professional teams around the world in 11 different countries. Scales trained and played with the Indian players at the US camp. “We got a good group of guys,” says Scales. “And we just want to come in here and do what’s right, make everyone better and learn some basketball.” Scales, who has played in places like China and Russia is about to play in India for the first time. “At the end of the day this is something I always wanted to do. I always wanted to be part of the game and help break down situations and help others.” Scales is looking forward to helping his new Indian teammates and others who love the game in India. “I want to be able to help guys understand to make them as good as they want to be and to give them confidence that they’re capable of doing this just as well as I am.
” While all the Indian players who attended the US training camp enjoyed their interaction with the American players, Siddhanth Shinde of the Pune Peshwas, who has also represented India internationally, was pleasantly surprised at the way the American players treated his fellow UBA stars and him. “I didn’t think these guys would be so friendly,” said Shinde. “As soon as we stepped in the gym everyone was silent and then everyone was pumping each other and we had made a couple of teams and had some games happening and we supported each other.”
The American players are anxious to step in to the UBA spotlight with new teammates, in front of new fans, in a new country. But no American may be looking forward to it more than Chris Solomon, who played college ball in Florida at Northwood University, then professionally in Italy and Mexico. However, playing in India will be a dream come true for the young man with Indian blood. “This hits home, it’s a personal goal of mine,” says Solomon. “I always wanted to go to India being as I’m half Indian, my Dad is from New Delhi. He came over to the States when he was about 11 so this is more than just basketball to me, this is getting to see the other side of my family.” Solomon was flying high above the rim frequently at the US training camp, but nothing has him flying higher than his chance to help basketball in his father’s native land. Both the American players and the Indians left the training camp knowing their work had really just begun, but all made it clear they were committed to raising the game in the UBA and all of India. UBA Chairman Tommy Fisher liked what he saw at his camp in Phoenix and like most of us, can’t wait to see what happens in Season 4. “I really see potential here. Nothing comes in one day, you’ve got to work for it, you’ve got to earn it. Mr. Fisher added, “I think if everyone’s committed to that, you might be surprised what happens here two years, three years, four years from now with what we’re talking about. It’s exciting, it’s fun.
” The excitement and fun may only just beginning.