Achintya Krishna, 17, doesn’t have a dramatic tale of how he got into basketball. He was the tallest in his class. He was open to trying out different sports. So, his physical education teacher at The Brigade School in Bengaluru suggested basketball.
It took just one summer camp for Krishna to be passionate about the game. Three years ago, he left his family, friends and hometown, to train at the National Basketball Association (NBA) Academy in Noida. He was one of the first 21 prospects to be selected to the inaugural batch of the NBA Academy in 2017.
Krishna might not be a prodigy, blessed with preternatural basketball skills. But he seems like a smart and dedicated learner. Todd Gates, the strength and conditioning coach at the academy in Noida told NBA.com last year, “He came in lean, just light, very light. It is going to take a while for him to put on weight.”
So, Krishna started working on improving his strength. “I started benching at 12. Now, I can do 25 each hand,” he told NBA.com.
The teenager took a while to acclimatise to the academy when he joined. “It was pretty difficult to be away from family and friends,” he says over the phone. “But the people at the academy were really nice and supportive. You will be assigned a senior partner once you get there. And, my senior helped me a lot. It is fun playing and learning with all of them.”
Krishna’s back in Bengaluru to spend his end-of-term break. On Thursday, he interacted, via NBA Academy India’s Instagram page, with nine to 12-year-old players about his experience as a student-athlete at the academy.
Krishna is happy with the progress he has made in his basketball journey. Last June, he helped India win the U16 SABA Basketball Championships 2019. He also represented NBA Academy India at the NBA Academy Games held in the US.
Despite the high-level basketball training at the academy, Krishna has kept up his good performance in academics — he scored 96 % in the CBSE tenth standard board examination last year.
“I want to do well in my 12th grade too so I can get a good scholarship to study and train in the US and play in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) basketball tournament.”