Princepal Singh on playing in NBA Summer League: ‘It feels like a dream’

Princepal Singh became the first NBA Academy India graduate and only the second Indian ever, after Satnam Singh, to feature in the NBA Summer League when he made his 1 minute, 22 second appearance for the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.

Princepal Singh was a volleyball player in his village before he starting training at the Ludhiana Basketball Academy, where his coach urged him to pursue the sport.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Princepal Singh became the first NBA Academy India graduate and only the second Indian ever, after Satnam Singh, to feature in the NBA Summer League when he made his 1 minute, 22-second appearance for the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.

The 20-year-old from Gurdaspur, standing 6 feet 9 inches tall, wants to push his achievements to greater heights.

“After the Summer League, I’ll train in Los Angeles. I am happy with my trajectory. I first played in the G League, now I’m in the Summer League, and next, I’ll play in the NBA. I never thought I would come this far. It feels like a dream. My next goal is the NBA. I just want to play for a long time and stay fit,” Singh said during a virtual press conference.

He has been training in Los Angeles for the Summer League and is working hard on his fitness. “I’ve done a lot of skill training during my individual sessions and worked on my shooting. Playing in the Summer League with players who have been drafted in the NBA has improved my game. My coach has asked me to play hard and focus on rebounds and defence,” Singh added.

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Eager to get more game time in the League, Singh said he wants to focus on his rebounds and score some points. “There’s not so much pressure on me. I just hope I get some more time which I haven’t yet got.”

During his stint in G-League Ignite, Singh learnt how pro-players conducted themselves off the court and helped each other. His stay in the US also taught him how to interact better and made him more mature.

Singh was a volleyball player in his village before he starting training at the Ludhiana Basketball Academy (LBA), where his coach urged him to pursue the sport.

Asked about the future of basketball in India, Singh said that the 3x3 professional basketball leagues, now recognised by the Basketball Federation of India (BFI), could help garner support for the game.

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“The NBA India initiative also helped the sport in terms of introducing it to people who didn’t know anything about basketball. The leagues will reassure young players that they can make a living out of the game. Basketball will be like cricket one day,” Singh said.

Stressing on the importance of fitness, Singh urged aspiring Indian basketball players to “hit the gym and work on building strength”. "Hard work and learning the basketball language are essential. I would advise youngsters to watch YouTube; everything is there.”

Princepal Singh followed the footsteps of fellow LBA graduate- Satnam Singh, who was the first Indian drafted into the NBA. Satnam made his Summer League debut for the Dallas Mavericks in 2015 and later was acquired by the Texas Legends in the developmental G League where he played during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. In 2018, Satnam represented St. John’s Edge in the National Basketball League of Canada (NBL).

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