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India needs more skillful point guards: Basketball coach

Posted on Mar 16 2014 | IANS

By Santosh Rao, New Delhi, March 16 : Two years for a basketball coach is enough to form a clear idea about the requirements of the Indian team and where it is heading to. Scott Flemming, who has considerable coaching experience in the US, is firm about one thing: More and more skillful point guards can take the team to the next level.

Flemming has over 30 years of collegiate and professional experience in the United States, as the head coach of the men's national team. He has also served as the coach and athletic director at Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Ohio.

Seeing the men's team recently win the gold medal at the Lusofonia Games in Goa, Flemming noticed a distinct improvement in their performance and says that is the result of hard work.

"Our team has been improving and people can see that all the hardwork is being converted into positive results. We did extremely well in the Lusofonia Games and was very happy with the performance," Flemming, who was appointed the head coach in November 2012, told IANS.

"However, to go to the next level, we need a lot of skillful point guards, a pivotal position and the lack of good players in that position is hurting the team," he said.

Point guard is the equivalent of a playmaker in football and runs the show when it comes to attacking play.

Most point guards are diminutive in comparison to the other members in the team but the key traits are that they are extremely skillful and quick movers.

"There is nothing wrong with the talent, the problem is picking the right men for right positions right from a young age. When you grow up playing a certain way then you become proficient in that role.

India has had a relatively successful past in South Asia, qualifying for the FIBA Asia Championship 22 times and being placed in the top-5 bracket.

India has also won three gold and a silver at the South Asian Games. Flemming, however, feels that with proper international standard training India has the potential to achieve a lot more.

"There is incredible talent in the country and the sport is popular here as well, so we have two key points taken care of. But it's the training, the coaching at the grassroots level that needs improving.

"It is very important to have international level coaches. Having talent is one thing but nurturing it is more important. BFI is taking the correct measures, holding these Level 1 certification courses around the country for budding coaches.

"The coaching clinics conducted by the game's greats like Del Harris will help immensely and we need more such clinics," said Flemming, who was the former Texas Legends assistant coach in the NBA Development League.

Recently, BFI, in association with FIBA and NBA, had started organising basketball coaching Certification Courses in four zones of the country.

The Clinic will provide an opportunity for more than 120 selected coaches to receive FIBA Level 1 Coaching Certification and BFI Certification.

(Santosh Rao can be contacted at

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