Gursimran Bhullar made history in 2015 when he became the first player of Indian descent to play in an NBA game. The trend was carried on by Satnam Singh as he became the first Indian player to be selected via the NBA draft. Satnam soon became a sensation as he was selected by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft.
In latter years, Amjyot Singh (2017-18) was selected by Oklahoma City Blue in the 2017 NBA G League Draft while Palpreet Singh was drafted to the Long Island Nets in the fourth round of the 2016 NBA Developmental League Draft.
Basketball is one of America's most favourite sports and the NBA is one of the most marketed leagues, with fans from all over the world taking an interest in it.
As Indians continue to make early inroads into the world of NBA, Riyanshu Negi has emerged as the latest sensation.
Negi becomes the fourth student-athlete from NBA Academy India to sign for a high-school program in the US.
"It was a surreal moment for me because obviously, I wasn't expecting it," Negi told NBA India.
He is following in the footsteps of Jagshaanbir Singh (Golden State Prep, Point Park University), Pranav Prince (First Love Christian Academy), and Amaan Sandhu (First Love Christian Academy).
It must be noted that Princepal Singh, another batchmate of Negi at the NBA Academy in India, had also secured a US offer when he signed up to play in the NBA G League in July 2020. However, he had transitioned to the NBA Global Academy in Canberra, Australia before graduating and securing a spot in the G League where he will train and compete in a new G League team comprised of elite youth prospects.
Negi was selected to the NBA Academy in India in 2017 as a part of the inaugural class of student-athletes identified through the ACG-NBA Jump Program which started in 2016.
The 6’3” tall Negi credits the coaches at the academy for helping him grow.
“Coaches over there changed my shooting form completely and I wasn't as good of a shooter when I entered the Academy but now, I can shoot the ball really well. I think that was the main thing that I improved,” he said.
Negi, 18, operates as a shooting guard on the court. He hails from Roorkee, Uttarakhand and has been part of multiple basketball development camps organized by the NBA, including the 2017 and 2018 NBA Academy Games and the 2017 NBA Asia Pacific Camp in China.