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Basketball - 07. April 2011.

IND – India’s Jose invited to WNBA tryouts

But Jose, the captain of India when they hosted the 2009 FIBA Asia Women’s Championship in Chennai, was less than two months away from receiving an invite to try out for a spot on two WNBA rosters.

Both the Chicago Sky and Los Angeles Sparks have this week offered the 25-year-old a chance to make their squads for the forthcoming season.

Jose, who was the top scorer at the Asian Championship two years ago when averaging 22 points per game in leading India to a sixth-place finish, also played at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Australia and the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

Just to have a chance to work out with a couple of WNBA teams is a dream come true for the 188cms center.

“I have waited a long time for this opportunity – I can’t believe that it’s finally here,” said Jose.

“It has been my dream to play at the highest level – the WNBA. It does not matter which team gives me the opportunity there – I just want to compete.”              

It turns out that Jose was actually invited to try out for WNBA teams last year but was unable to take advantage.

This time, she will.

The Indian Basketball Federation’s (BFI) Harish Sharma said: “This is an incredible opportunity for Geethu Anna Jose.

“We are delighted for her and everyone who supports basketball in India will hope and pray for her success with the tryouts.

“She was offered the same opportunity last year, but due to complications she couldn’t make it – we are glad that this time, her dream is one step closer to being realised.”

Sharma and the BFI could not buy better publicity for the sport.

“This has been one major step for us at BFI in promoting Indian players throughout the world,” Sharma said.

“We will be looking to support such opportunities for other basketball players in India as well – the more players that proper outside of India, the more prosperity they will be bringing to the game of basketball in India.”

Jose, still a player with Southern Railway, has won seven consecutive National Basketball Championship titles with the team.

She has played abroad before, having represented the Ringwood Hawks, a lower division team in Australia's Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL). She won the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 2008.

Though Jose plays center for Indian Railways, she is more likely to play the small forward position in the US.

“I will try my best to give a good performance in the tryouts,” she said.

Jose is expected to leave for the United States in two weeks.

Before then, she will compete in the Ramu Memorial Basketball Tournament in Mumbai

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