Praneeth Udumalagala, a name known to many Sri Lankan basketball players for his outstanding achievements that shows off in athletics and academic expertise.
Praneeth, is a young dedicator, as a trainer and a player bringing superlative energy and results to basketball games. He has been a well known face among the Sri Lankan young generation, being an inspiration for his amazing basket ball skills he has enlightened with the struggles of life.
Interviewing Praneeth, we were able to share his accomplishments that need to recognized and shared for future students looking for answers.
When did you start getting involved in basketball?
- When I was in grade 4 in my high school in Sri Lanka. Then seniors came to our class rooms and informed us that they are looking for new beginners. I was a champion swimmer in my age category at that time but I still was interested in joining basketball as my friends were joining. Then I asked my father and he said it’s very good as it goes alongside swimming as well.
Favorite NBA player and where does your inspiration come?
My favorite NBA player is LeBron James. He came from nothing to having the whole world in front of him now. He not only excels on top in the game but he’s a huge inspiration to the world outside the basketball court as well.
We have seen you play, what is your pregame ritual, basically to get pumped up for match?
Well I actually try to play the game in my head before the game. I study the players and specifically who I guard and how I am going to guard them. I also make offensive moves and imagine playing the game in my head. Everything is positive and I relive my past best game moments.
What was it like in the beginning when you were starting out to play basketball?
My first practice session and sessions were interesting as all my friends were there. Going forward lot of them stopped while I continue to love the sport and practice more even on my own at home. Few years later came my first game which was the under 13 category in a lower division. I can’t remember much about the game to be honest I was really young.
What is your game philosophy and how do you strategize during a game?
Game plan changes according to the opposite team and players and how they play. As by Philosophy I take one game at a time. And even one position at a time. Some days I might have a bad scoring game but then I should never have bad defensive effort or even doing little things right. It all comes down to focus and having practices properly before the season starts.
How do you channel your frustration when the referee’s decision doesn’t go your way?
I think it just in the moment I would disagree with a call but I won’t be reactive to referees. I would just rather mumble to myself and deal with it. My high school coach who is a reason why i’m where I am today taught me to respect whatever the call that the referee makes. The answer is playing my game and not let things that I can’t control affect me.
What aspect of your game is the most comfortable and what aspect of your game is the most uncomfortable ?
It’s a tough question. I think the toughest part is making sure everybody is in the same page. It’s a team game and it’s important you get everybody’s best effort in a daily basis. Its east to focus on my individual game and play the best way I can but that won’t be enough. As a good player and leader I have to make sure everybody in the team is giving there absolute 100%.
How do you deal with the pressure of having to perform in front of the crowd?
The crowd really don’t bother me. At least its positive and not in a negative way. Maybe because I’m used to playing with big crowds from a young age. I love a good game atmosphere and it is always an opportunity. Big crowds will help you gain good energy off them to perform even better.
What are you thinking when you get benched in a game?
The reason i will be benched is either I need a break or I am not in the same page as the rest. The bench time will give me some time to reflect on what I’m doing wrong and will let me gather myself. I always stay ready whenever my name is called again, I’ll be ready to go out there to play.
How did you stay motivated after losing a game?
Losing isn’t easy, its not the best feeling. But it certainly is a learning lesson. Every loss will teach you something and you have to practice harder to not to repeat. It goes individually and as a team. I reflect on the game thoroughly the day after and I will get back to working on the weaknesses right away.
What has basketball taught you that carries over into the other areas of your life?
‘No pain – no gain – no gain – no victory” Nothing great will come to you without hard work and sacrifice. Have goals and aims and work hard to achieve them. NEVER GIVE UP!
What was the most important game you played?
I can think of many. But I think the most important games I play are the games I play for the national team. We represent our country and we have to give our absolute best. Not people rely and support us lot of youngsters look up to as national players.
How do you want your team mates to remember you?
A great player but a better human being. A leader inside and outside the court. A person who lead by example. More important a person who helped them to become the best version of their selves inside and out of the game.
(Images Sourced from Google)
Praneeth Udumalagala, A true leader to his team we wish you all the success!