KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Diya TV) — The Tennessee men’s basketball team boasts one of the rare talents in NCAA Division I basketball — Kaylan Makan, a sophomore whose roots trace back to Gujarat, a state in western India.

Makan, currently contributing to the scout team, takes immense pride in his Indian heritage and the opportunity to don the Orange and White jersey for the Vols. According to team sources, he is believed to be one of just three players of Indian descent in Division I basketball.

The transfer from the Citadel joined the Vols this season, and Head Coach Rick Barnes identified significant value in bringing Makan on board as a walk-on.

“He’s played at a Division One level and has been around it. It’s been a good fit for all of us,” Barnes commented on Makan’s contribution to the team.

Makan, previously unaware of the SEC’s intensity, expressed his amazement at being part of such a competitive conference. “The SEC is insane. I didn’t even know I’d have the chance to be here,” he remarked.

Working diligently on the scout team, Makan embraces the responsibility and sees it as an opportunity to contribute to the team’s growth. Beyond the court, he aspires to be an inspiration for younger Indian kids aspiring to play basketball.

“My aunt and uncle have a lot of friends here, and I’ve gotten to meet them too. They have a lot of younger kids, so I’ve gotten to meet them and get closer with them, and I’ve gotten closer with the youth,” shared Makan.

His parents express pride in their son’s representation of their community in NCAA basketball. “It makes our community, our people feel like they can grow, they can do the same thing too,” said Bhu Makan, his dad.

Kaylan Makan not only takes pride in his heritage but also in representing the university he now plays for. Reflecting on the moment he saw his name on the jersey, he exclaimed, “Soon as I saw my name on that jersey, I was freaking out. And then the SEC part. They say the SEC means more and it does.”