Former NBA shooting guard Martin feels basketball players in India are “pretty advanced, talent-wise”.
Martin interacted with 22 basketball players enrolled at NBA Academy at Jaypee Atlantis Integrated Sports Complex in Greater Noida on Thursday. The second NBA player to visit the academy after Kevin Durrant, Martin described the prospects of the game in India as ‘encouraging’.
The players at the academy impressed Martin with their shooting and dribbling skills. With back breaking training under coaches Jacques Vandescure, Todd Gates and Ray Farrell, the players have been transformed into ‘chiselled prodigies’ with eight sessions of weights, shooting and agility every week.
“They are pretty advanced, talent-wise. They dribble and shoot well. The coaches have done a remarkable job of teaching the fundamentals. They all have a great camaraderie,” said Martin, in India on a week-long sojourn to promote basketball.
“I have been around a lot of kids this weekend and all of them have great coaches who are making a big difference in the world of basketball,” he added. Martin’s first stop was at the Dhirubhai Ambani School in Mumbai, where he interacted with the Reliance Foundation’s NBA participants, followed by Delhi and Greater Noida.
Will he be back? “I will come here again because I saw some great talent. A couple of them will definitely make it to the professional level. There are a lot of opportunities in Europe, China and Australia. It is really exciting to see different faces of basketball across the world,” Martin said
Players at the academy were thrilled to interact with Martin, who retired last year after playing for five NBA teams.