Indian basketball may be witnessing the birth of a new star in the newcomer Princepal Singh. The 17-year-old has been training seriously for the past three years and is now ready to take the floor with the Indian national team.
The Beginning Of Singh’s Career
Singh grew up in a small village in Dera Baba Nanak. He left the village as a teenager with the idea of pursuing volleyball. At six foot six he’s had a good stature for either basketball or volleyball. Singh’s dreams of a volleyball career soon changed when coaches from the Ludhiana Basketball Academy noticed him. They saw his height and athleticism and mentored him into being a great player.
Singh’s early days playing basketball weren’t easy because before he started at Ludhiana, he really didn’t know anything about the sport. But his improvement has been extraordinary. Last year he made the leap of being selected for the NBA Academy India. And this year of course, he’s playing for the national team.
While this is Singh’s first appearance with the national team, it isn’t his first time representing India. In April he played for the U-16 in a tournament in China. His team did not fare well, losing all three of their games in the group stage. But Singh showed his skills, scoring an average of 22.7 points per game and pulling down an average of 13 rebounds.
Singh’s performance was noticed and he went on to attend the NBA’s Basketball Without Boarders Asia Camp in May. The next month he was one of three Indians chosen to attend the NBA’s global camp in Treviso, Italy.
Singh kept his summer going with the Asian U-18 Championship in August. Hosted by Thailand, Singh and his Indian team lost in the quarterfinals to New Zealand. While they came home defeated, the trip was a success for Singh. He got even more exposure as the captain of the Indian team.
Singh is of course still young and developing as a player. He isn’t even fully grown yet. He’s now six foot ten, an impressive height, but every inch he grows gives him an advantage.
Singh is currently under contract to attend the NBA Global Academy for the next two years. So he is now spending his time at the Australian Institute of Sport campus, training with professional coaches from around the world.
Living in Australia isn’t easy for the young Singh, and he isn’t fluent in English. But Singh says he’s comforted by the expat community of Indians in Australia as well as his family back home. His parents couldn’t be more supportive. Singh says that they never miss watching a game (through live streaming) and even have him watch game film with them when he’s home.
Singh’s father stands tall at six feet and his mother is just two inches shorter. It seems that Singh has the right genes for basketball. The combination of amazing support from his family and the opportunity to work with some of the best coaches in the world gives Singh a good chance to really make something of himself in the world of basketball.
India is not a country known for basketball and they have not fared well in international play. But Singh could the be the beginning of a change for Indian basketball. And it all starts with the upcoming tournament in Hong Kong.