New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS) The National Basketball Association (NBA) on Tuesday announced its plans to launch NBA Academy India, an elite basketball training centre in the national capital for the top male and female prospects from across the nation.

NBA Academy India, the first of its kind in the country and NBA’s fifth elite training centre globally, will be fully funded by the NBA and will open in April 2017.

The NBA will conduct a national scouting programme beginning later this month to identify the inaugural pool of 24 elite prospects, who will receive scholarships and training at NBA Academy India.

The 24 prospects will be selected by February 2017.

“The NBA remains committed to growing the game in India, and the launch of NBA Academy India marks our most significant investment in basketball development in the market,” NBA Vice President Brooks Meek said in a statement.

“This academy will provide the top male and female prospects in India with world-class coaching and training, as well as academic support and an emphasis on life skills.”

NBA India managing director Yannick Colaco said: “NBA Academy India will help us identify and develop elite homegrown prospects and shape the next generation of national players.”

“Youth basketball players in India have had relatable figures to look up to in Sim Bhullar and Satnam Singh, and now NBA Academy India will give them a platform to prepare for the opportunity to develop into a professional-level prospect,” he added.

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