Good Sports: ENGINEERING TEAM TO ELITE EIGHT
Picture a group of engineering students on a basketball court. In the midst of them is a 6-foot-5 guard named Gokul Natesan, who leads them all the way to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Division II basketball tournament.
Natesan grew up Santa Clara, California, and became a rare sight on the basketball court: an Indian-American with impressive skills.
“I did feel a little different,” he told the Denver Post. “When you’re playing basketball on a travel team, people don’t really expect anything because they haven’t really seen an Indian basketball player.”
After graduating from Cupertino High School in the Bay Area, he accepted a scholarship to Colorado School of Mines, a public research university. He recently capped his final season by eclipsing 2,000 points in his college career (only the fourth player in school history to do so) and engineering the Orediggers to the final eight in the NCAA tournament.
“It couldn’t have played out any better to come into the Elite Eight in my final year, and looking back on how much I’ve developed as a player is really rewarding,” Natesan said. “Those days of people questioning me in club ball are long in the past, and looking back on my freshman year, it seems like light years away, too, because I can see my growth into a more complete player.”
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