Former NBA players to feature in India Basketball tournament

For the first time in the history of the tournament, some former NBA players will feature in the 8th Savio Cup All India Basketball tournament for men and women to be held at the Don Bosco High School in Matunga here from December 2-9, Business Standart reported.

The former NBA players – Anthony Bonner, Paul Grant and Jerome Williams – are to Sportspower, a team from the USA, which will vie for the winners’ purse of Rs one lakh along with the formidable men’s teams from India, ONGC, Indian Railways, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, a media release said.

Williams enjoyed the longest NBA stint of the three, as the 6ft 9in former power forward played nine seasons for Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks.

Williams played 587 NBA games (159 started), averaging 6.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg in 21.7 minutes of playing time. Williams proved himself to be a strong rebounder during his career, averaging 9.6 rpg in 99-00 season, and 9.2 rpg in 02-03 season.

Paul Grant played two seasons in the NBA (98-99, 03-04), appearing in 16 games throughout his career, scoring 29 points and 18 rebounds total.

Bonner’s NBA career, which spanned six seasons, saw him appear for Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks and Orlando Magic.

He played in 318 NBA games (120 started), averaging 6.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg in 23.2 minutes per game.

In addition to competing in the event, the three former NBA players will take time out to be part of NBA Cares clinics for players and coaches on December 7 and 8, the release said.

The four-team women’s category includes Southern Railway, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

The competition would see a host of India stars such as Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, Riyazuddin and Yadwinder from ONGC, Geetu Anna Jose and Anitha Pauldurai from Southern Railway, Anju Lakra from Chattisgarh, Mihir Pandey and Abhilek Paul from Tamil Nadu, as well as some rising stars from Maharashtra.

The tournament, to be sponsored by Tridhatu Realty India and United Phosphorous, would serve as a tune-up to the senior nationals starting in Ludhiana on December 27.


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