Kavita Akula has become the first Indian-born basketball player to receive a full scholarship for Division I level basketball at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, according to an Arizona Sports report.
Akula is currently a junior guard on the Grand Canyon University women’s basketball team and is playing her first season after transferring from Garden City Community College.
“She has been through a lot with her journey and all of the places she has been. She’s just very smart and has a high emotional IQ. She has great self-awareness, loves people and has a great sense of humor,” GCU coach Nicole Powell told Arizona Sports.
According to Arizona Sports, Akula moved to the United States from India when she was 14-years-old and played basketball in high school at IMG Academy.
She also represented India in the 2017 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup, where she won a Division B Championship.
After high school, Akula ventured out to Garden City, where she averaged 8.9 points, 1.2 assists and two rebounds per game and when she was done there after two years, she signed, though late, at Grand Canyon University last April.
Akula is shooting nearly 50 percent from beyond the 3-point line this season, according to Arizona Sports.
“I just love it here. It’s just my first year, and it’s really different from Kansas. I am just getting used to everything. Coach Nicole recruited me coming from Kansas, and I just came because of her,” Akula told Arizona Sports, adding that she wants to become like her head coach one day and hopes to promote basketball in India, “playing under Coach Nicole will teach me to do well if I become a coach.”
Akula told Arizona Sports that she “will aspire to transcend a young program that just recently became eligible to play in the NCAA Tournament,” just like her Coach Nicole.
“We are a pretty young coaching staff, which is awesome in that we are all learning to grow from each other. The new kids that we have brought in, like Kavita, have just been phenomenal kids and they want to continue to get better, and want to be a part of what Grand Canyon is about.” GCU assistant coach Brad Langston told Arizona Sports.
“She has had a life experience, which helps, especially for our young kids that are coming in. It’s helping to lead them. She understands what adversity is and facing life from moving away from your family and being in a new country. She takes everything in stride, and it’s just helping to lead our kids on and off the court,” he added.