The Sub-junior National Basketball Championship is the youngest national championship in India’s annual basketball calendar. It is a week long all India inter-state tournament organized annually. The Championship features almost all 29 Indian States and Union territories which compete for the unbeatable honour of being crowned national champions.
The venue of the mini Nationals is decided a few months in advance, generally on a rotational basis, to ensure that different parts of the country get to host this event.
The 25+ teams in each of the boys and girls section are grouped into two levels: Upper Level 1 and lower Level 2. Level 1 features the top 10 teams from the previous championship divided into two groups of five teams each. Level 2 features the remaining teams.
The tournament is played on a league cum knockout basis, with as many as 120 matches played from early morning till late night. Generally the matches are played simultaneously on one indoor and two outdoor courts.
In the league stages, all teams from each group play each other once. The top three Level 1 teams from each of the two groups qualify to the quarterfinals stage. The bottom (i.e. 5th) teams are relegated to the lower Level 1 for next year, while the two fourth placed teams from both the Level 1 groups play pre-quarterfinal games against the top two teams from Level 2.
Level 2 features four Groups (C, D, E and F) usually of 4-5 teams each. After the league stages, the top four teams (one from each Group) play qualifying matches in order to attempt to move to the upper Level. The two winning teams after these qualifying matches immediately qualify to the upper Level in the next edition, replaced the two bottom (i.e. 5th placed) teams from the upper Level 1 Groups. These two Level 2 to Level 1 qualifying teams also play another match which in turn allows the winning team to pick their pre-quarterfinal opponent (basically choosing between either the 4th placed team in Level 1 Group A or the 4th placed team in Level 1 Group B).
For all the remaining Level 2 teams which didn’t qualify to the knockout stages of the main competition, a separate ‘Loser’s Knockout’ Tournament is held between them in order to give these teams much needed match practice, and a chance for them to test their bench strength.
One unique rule only for the U13 level is that no player can play for more than 3 quarters in a game, and 10 out of 12 members in each team must play for at least 10 minutes in each match. This rule is to ensure competitive exposure to maximum number of players.
Immediate Tournament History
42 Editions of the Tournament have been held so far. The 2015 edition was held in Puducherry, with Chhattisgarh girls and Madhya Pradesh boys being crowned champions. The 43rd edition will be held in Hyderabad from 1 to 7 October 2016.