UD delegation promotes basketball in India
Matt Robinson, center kneeling, UD associate professor of sport management, led a basketball delegation to India.
4:45 p.m., Aug. 26, 2008--A delegation from the University of Delaware traveled to New Delhi, India, in July to conduct a Youth Basketball Management Seminar as part of a U.S. Department of State-funded International Basketball Initiative. The program was held in conjunction with the NBA's Basketball Without Borders Asia community outreach program and was hosted by the Basketball Federation of India and Fédération Internationale de Basketball Amateur (FIBA), the governing body for basketball in the world.

The UD delegation was led by Matthew J. Robinson, associate professor of sport management, and included Michael Williams, coordinator of athletics for the Howard County Public School System in Columbia, Md., Michael Duffy, athletic director at Howard High School, and UD graduate student Awista Ayub.

The delegation led a two-day seminar that focused on the organization and management of youth grassroots basketball programs and interscholastic basketball leagues and presented strategies for long-term programming and the sustainability of basketball teams and leagues within schools. The seminar participants also had the opportunity to observe the NBA's Basketball without Borders camp that included the top youth players in Asia.

“Basketball in India has a bright future. The key is developing the infrastructure and educating coaches and administrators in order to create opportunities for the youth to play the game. It was a privilege to work with the leadership of Indian basketball to begin charting the course for the growth of the game in India,” Robinson said. “Howard County's athletic programs are one of, if not the best high school athletic programs in the country and Michael and Mike are two of the best at what they do. It was an honor to have them as presenters.”

Robinson, Williams and Duffy presented to more than 80 male and female basketball coaches and administrators. In addition to the India basketball representatives, basketball leaders from Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Nepal were in attendance.

The seminar topics were:

  • Developing a culture for student-centered, education-based athletic programs (SCEBAP);
  • Developing sport programs in the educational setting, policies and procedures;
  • The youth basketball player's stages of development;
  • Promotional strategies for growing the game at the grass roots level;
  • Developing coaches, referees, teams and school-based leagues; and
  • Strategic planning for youth basketball in India.

During the trip, Robinson had the opportunity to meet with Robert Elphinston, president of FIBA, and Patrick Bauman, secretary general of the international basketball organization. Elphinston recognized the contribution that UD has made to international basketball with the programs it has initiated in Turkey, Senegal, Ireland and India.

“It was very flattering for Bob and Patrick to recognize UD for so many parts of the University--the Center for International Studies, Athletics, the Provost's office, the College of Health Sciences, the Office of Service Learning and Alumni Relations--that have contributed to the efforts. I hope that we can continue our programs and work with FIBA more in the future to further develop basketball coaches and administrators around the globe,” Robinson said.

Elphinston addressed the seminar, as did Dean Cooper, vice president of player personnel with the Houston Rockets, who provided the keynote address to start the seminar.

UD will continue its relationship with the Basketball Federation of India in September when it hosts a delegation led by Keshav Kumar Chansoria, national team coach for India. The delegation will be on campus for three weeks to participate in a coaching education program and to develop strategies to grow the game in India. Also, two graduate students will begin studies in the Higher Education Administration graduate program. Divya Singh, a member of the Indian women's national team, will serve as a graduate assistant for the UD women's basketball team and Yuvika Sharma will work with Robinson on development and implementation of grass roots development strategies for Indian basketball.

“Mr. Elphinston remarked at the seminar that there is no reason why India could not become a basketball power in Asia within the next ten years,” Robinson said. “We hope that UD can make a contribution to the achievement of this goal.”

Article by Neil Thomas