Sagarika Shyam began playing basketball when she was 12 years old. Now 18, she has already represented the state and the National youth team.
Guess how she picked up the nuances of the game so fast? Apart from her talent, hard work and dedication, Sagarika has a huge advantage over many others -- her mother Jayavanthi was a basketball star in her prime having represented the country too.
Quite naturally, Sagarika can look up to her mother for guidance.The mother and daughter duo are always together at tournaments. Her brother too has taken to the game and basketball dominates their talk at the dining table.
Sagarika was recently awarded the NBA Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive year. And she was chosen by coaches from the NBA itself. She started her career in Sophia High School by taking part in athletics, basketball and throw ball.
She started playing basketball at the age of 12 and represented Mounts where Jayavanthi and former star Nandini Basappa together form a team of renowned coaches. She played in the mini state team too where Karnataka came fourth that year.
Thereafter, there was no stopping her and she became a permanent fixture in the state junior, youth and senior team as well.
Naturally, she caught the eye of the national selectors at the nationals and she peaked by playing for India in the gold medal winning team in the Children of Asia Games in Russia in 2008-09.
In all the school tournaments, she got the best player award and represented Mount Carmel College and was also the best player in inter-collegiate tournaments too.
The NBA Challenge came as a boon for her and she was adjudged as the most valuable player in 2010- 2011 and this year too. She proudly received it from NBA’s former star and the best clutch player Robert Horry.
Sagarika has already captained the Karnataka state team thrice. She has also represented the national team in international basketball on three occasions.
Apart from the gold in Russia, she played junior India (U-16) in the Asian Basketball Championship in Pune and then got into the Under-18 Indian team for the same tournament in Surathani, Thailand.
She has played nine times for Karnataka in all age group teams. “Sagarika has a very good ball control and defence. She always likes to create scoring opportunities for others.
Although she is a good shooter, somehow she does not try to score herself. If there are seniors in the team, she tries to feed them even when there’s a chance for scoring,” said Jayavanthi, her mother, coach, mentor and everything for her.
“In the case of many players, we have to shout and ask them to pass the ball. In Sagarika’s case, we have to yell and ask her to shoot.
If she shakes off that psychological factor in her game and scores more, she can turn out to be a an effective all-round player. But her strongest point is her defence and I must say she is the best right now,” said the former international player.
“For the national level, she has the strength and endurance but she must improve in these aspects if she has to perform well at the International level,” opined Jayavanth
Mini U-13 - September 2006, Kolkata Nationals.
Youth U-16 - May 2007, Lucknow Nationals.
Youth U-16 - September 2008, Bhilai Nationals.
Youth U-16 - May 2009, Bombay Nationals.
Juniors U-18 - June 2008, Rajasthan Nationals.
Juniors U-18 - January 2010, Madhya Pradesh
Juniors U-18 - July 2011, Delhi Nationals.
Women - December 2010, Delhi Nationals.
Youth U-16 - 2008/2009, Russia, Children of Asia
Games, won gold.
Youth U-16 - 2009/2010, Pune, Asian Basketball
Junior U-18 - 2010/2011, Thailand, Asian