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Raghav Sehgal excels on and off the court in senior year at Ramapo

Growing up in Kolkata, West Bengal region of India, a country passionate about the game of cricket, Ramapo College senior Raghav Sehgal’s first sport was not basketball. It was tennis that he played for about seven or eight years. Afterwards, Sehgal started playing cricket, where he was on the school team and registered numerous records that still remain to this day.

Basketball came calling Sehgal’s way in 8th grade when a coach recognized his height that was not common in the country. All coach Sehgal said was to come and try it out and see how it goes. However Sehgal had a decision come sophomore year he had a decision whether to play cricket or basketball. Mind you he was also participating in javelin and club tennis. Ultimately, Sehgal chose basketball due to the expressiveness and being on the court. The team he played on went undefeated for two years and ranked nationally in the country.

After graduating from La Martiniere For Boys High School, Sehgal had a big decision to make on which college to attend and recruiters did not come calling his way. “Applying here I did not have the advantage of getting recruited since I was from India and time to visit places when I was choosing a college so it was very important to have trust and confidence and coach that believes in you, said Sehgal”

Enter the picture Ramapo College Head Coach Chuck McBreen who has called Sehgal the ultimate teammate, “Coach McBreen gave me that start when I spoke to him on the phone, a very friendly and approachable person when I came on to campus and I saw that competitive person,” Sehgal said. “It’s just on the court but off the court where develops his players as human beings. I look back at the years and how much I have learned about the game and not to grow as a player and individual thanks to Coach McBreen.”

Despite not playing that much on the basketball team the past couple of years, Sehgal has found other ways to contribute and enjoyed the run the team has been on especially last season with advancing to the NCAA Division III Tournament Final Four.

“You have expectations but even though things do not work out you have to fight for it and willing to do what it takes. I try to bring that team and freshman coming in. As a senior trying to be supportive to everyone around me and the seniors that came before me made me feel the same way and trying to be the best teammate I can be,” said Sehgal.

“I wanted to play at the college level, just didn’t know what the Final Four or NCAA Tournament can be and how good this school is,” Sehgal said. “Before every game I would have a personal speech or motivation to every starter on the floor. In practice we are pushing each other to get better or battling on the court to simulate the game.”

Majoring in Business Management, Sehgal has thrived immensely named to the President’s Honor Roll by the ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) in the Spring of 2018 and 2017-18 NJAC Honorable Mention All-Academic Team, Chi Alpha Sigma Student-Athlete Honor Society, Member of SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee), Dean’s List, Anisfield Scholarship in 2017 and Parekh Scholarship in 2016.

“Basketball is so important in my life but equally important to get that education,” said Sehgal. “My family said no matter how passionate you are about the game and pursuing it education is very important. I put my time in the classroom because I feel like it’s investment in my future and no what I’m doing to get my education. Always wanted to be a management major and study in business school that is so hands on and learning about the actual workplace compared to textbooks and comfortable with it and felt I could do well in.”

“Ramapo College has been so wonderful to me, they welcomed me in when a person comes from a different part of the world. People have questions, they didn’t know what to expect but gave me chance to be myself and comfortable in the process and learning experience for me. The whole community is so tight, together and supporting each other. The academic staff has been wonderful and learning something whether at school or outside in the community.”

With the final season at Ramapo College winding down, Sehgal and three other seniors were honored in a pre-game ceremony before Wednesday night’s Senior Night game against New Jersey City University and NJAC regular season finale. Not only receiving a plaque for his accomplishments but first starting nod.

“I come from India playing basketball at the highest levels I could have and one thing that was missing that crowd and enthusiasm,” Sehgal said. “Coming here my love of the game grew even more and passion at the Bradley Center. For me to start was a proud moment for me and my family.”

“Sitting back and not having no regrets I want to make the most out of my experience and showing others can follow the tradition as I can on and off the court and exploring avenues in the classroom such as yoga and health and lifestyle to enjoy the whole experience and not look at the book side of it.”

With the rise of the NBA popularity in India and players drafted by the league such as Satnam Singh Bhamara, Sim Bhullar and Amjyot Singh Sehgal sees a need to help grow the game here and back home in India.

“Players coming from small villages such as Satnam Singh who I followed and played against a little bit. Really happy to see players come into this country and prosper in the sport. It’s one person that takes a billion dream and if Satnam can do it others can as well. It’s an example not matter where you come from you can achieve it.”

“No matter where my journey takes me I will take the role of promoting the sport in India and providing much as I can back to my homeland and kids. This is my goal as well to provide support guidance that I did not have at a younger age and awareness of the sport.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.


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