Upcoming power forward Princepal Singh of Punjab became only the fourth Indian ever to sign for the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) G-League on Wednesday.
The NBA’s G-league is also known as the minor league or the developmental championship that acts like a feeder system to the big boys’ game.
The 19-year-old Princepal follows the legacy of fellow Indian basketball players like Satnam Singh, Palpreet Singh Brar and Amjyot Singh Gill to join the NBA’s development league.
Princepal Singh hopes to play alongside some of the big names in the NBA one day.
“I want to prove my credentials here and simultaneously will work on my skills and fitness, especially on strength, so that I can graduate to the main NBA league in the coming years,” the teenager told the Hindustan Times.
While Satnam Singh, the only Indian to be drafted into the NBA, and Amjyot Singh Gill went on to play for their respective G-League teams, Palpreet Singh Brar was one of the unpicked players after being drafted in 2016.
The six-foot-10-inch Princepal Singh will join G-League’s Select Team featuring other elite prospects from across the world.
Largely considered as a pathway for players to be a part of the regular G-League teams in the coming season, the Select Team experience will give the youngster an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the best young talents in the league.
The contract will see the towering Indian play close to 10-12 exhibition matches against other G-League sides and some of the international and academy outfits, giving him ample opportunity before enlisting for the NBA draft.
Princepal Singh's rise to prominence
Princepal Singh’s climb up the ladder has been like none other.
The teenager, who didn’t touch a basketball till he was 14, was first introduced to the sport at the famed Ludhiana Basketball Academy before moving to the newly established NBA Academy India in 2017.
A year later, Princepal Singh was moved to the NBA Global Academy in Canberra, Australia before graduating this year.
The young talent in Princepal Singh didn’t go unnoticed by the national selectors as well as the Punjab boy made his international debut the Super Kung Sheung Cup International Championship in Hong Kong in 2018.
The 19-year-old was also a part of the Indian team for the opening match of their 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualification in Manama, Bahrain.
In a closely contested match that saw India lose to the hosts Bahrain by a point (67-68), Princepal Singh recorded three points, five rebounds and two assists in his 12-minute cameo.
In the G-League, the Indian will be playing under the watchful eyes of the five-time NBA champion Brian Shaw.
The NBA is spreading its wings in India with the younger generation fascinated by all the razzmatazz and of course, the magical performances dished out by the likes of LeBron James and company.