Prudhvi Reddy, a 22-year-old basketball player, is the pride of Hyderabad. With hard work and a passion for the game, he has become a name to reckon with. Prudhvi dreamed of wearing the signature blue ever since he took up the sport when he was 12 years old. When he received the news that he made it to the Indian team, his elation knew no bounds. He is also the youngest person on the team and the only one from Telangana or Andhra Pradesh to have made it to Team India in the past 20 years! Prudhvi and the team will be playing the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers against Lebanon, Jordan and Syria this week.
He calls himself a dream chaser and explains, “It all started with me wanting to make it to the school team. That was my very first target. Once that was accomplished, I eyed the state team and then the Indian team. I always chase after what I want to achieve.”
The beginning is quite interesting. “I was very athletic since my childhood and loved sports. I used to play cricket before and tried to make it big there. But I always ended up being the 12th man. My mother figured out that my brother and I were going nowhere with cricket and she discontinued our coaching saying we should start paying more attention to academics. I never really liked studying much. When I was in Class VI, my mom signed my brother up for basketball camp because she wanted him to become taller. I knew that was my chance to escape studies, so I started running in the jogging lines along with my brother and showed interest. That’s how my journey of basketball began.”
He adds, “But when it came to Class XII, I had to choose between basketball and studies because I was offered a free one-year training in Spain.”
“It was a testing choice, but I decided to go with basketball. The time I spent in Spain and what I learnt there is very special to me. I then got a call to play for the U-18 Indian team and playing for the country felt amazing. Then, the UBA League started and our team, Mumbai Challengers, emerged as champions in season 4. When I performed well in both, my confidence grew because I could see a career in it.”
But the upward curve didn’t come without hurdles. “I experienced a huge culture shock when I started going abroad to train or play. There was a language barrier too and the food was difficult to adjust to. It used to be bland but I had to get used to all of this, which took time. The coaching styles also were different, which I found very hard at first. I realised that they meant business and toughened myself up. I started training harder and that’s how I got over it,” he says....