Image Credits: Fistosports
Daughter of India’s former international basketball players Zachariah Thomas and Jeena Zachariah, Ann Mary is a versatile all-rounder from Mount Carmel GHSS, Kottayam, Kerala. She can score, while efficiently guiding an offense. The 16-year-old is one of the four girls from India who were invited to the NCAA's Next Generation program at the Women's Final Four in Tampa 2019. We caught up with the Kerala native to talk about her game, her inspiration, future aspiration and more.
At what age did you start in Basketball?
I started playing basketball at the age of 10. Both my father and mother were former international basketball players, so I easily grasped the love for the game and that’s how my love for basketball started.
When did you say: yes, I will dedicate myself to Basketball?
I grew up watching my parents play and eventually both of them motivated me to take it up at a very young age and it slowly became my passion.
Since most of the basketball players tall - do you see your size as an advantage or disadvantage on the court?
I don't see my size as a disadvantage. I feel that even though I am tall I have good ball skills.
Who is the toughest player you’ve ever matched up with?
I am not sure who the toughest player I’ve matched up with is, but the most competitive player I would say Harsimran Kaur from Punjab. She is an amazing player and have great team chemistry.
What position do you play on the team? What are some challenges that you have faced?
I play both Point guard and power forward. When I was in my 6th and 7th grades, I was not able to perfrom upto the level of my skills so I it as a challenge that I would be the best player in India.
What is your pregame ritual on game day?
I have always believed in God and so whenever I go to play for a match or practise I pray before I enter the court.
Who is your team’s biggest rival in basketball and what makes that rivalry special?
Little Flower Convent High School, Koratty, Thrissur has always been our school’s biggest rivals. In most of the inter school tournaments we have always faced them in the finals. Whenever I have gone to play nationals, I have always felt that Punjab is our biggest competition.
Which is your favorite social media? Instagram
You’re still at a very early stage of your career. What kinds of things are you doing to make yourself the best player you can be?
To put in more effort and practise harder. To learn more new things from others.
What's your top five favorite basketball moves to do or that you just generally like?
Step back, shooting, post up, crossover and euro step.
You emerged as one of the talented player from the Khelo India Youth Games? What did you learn from the Games and how was the experience?
Even though we came fourth this year we will not be discouraged but practice and fight harder to become first next time.
At this point in your basketball life what has been the most memorable moment, or moments?
Representing India and winning the U-17 and U-18 FIBA Championship.
Favorite off court activity? If I not on the court, you can find me in school either studying or hanging out with my friends.
What's your strength in basketball?
I always push myself to the limits and then some, as that is the only way to improve. I will maintain my mental and physical toughness, as I am strong and not easily moved. I won’t back down from a challenge and I will not be overwhelmed by the hype. I will also bring my unselfish style of play to the next level. I will always put my team first and push my teamates to be the best they can be, so that we can excel together.
5-on-5 full-courts, 3-0n-3 half-courts, 1-on-1 around a single:
Difficult to choose one, I would choose everything.
What is one piece of advice that has helped you get through the challenges you have faced?
My mom always encourages me and tells me that even if I do not succeed, I should not be disappointed but continue to work hard. She always pushes me and helps me become a better player.
What are your personal goals this season?
My personal goals this year are to play well, be efficient with my shooting, and be a threat to every team that I will play. I am trying to bring everything that I have right now with me to the next level: hard work, coachability, toughness, and unselfishness.