Credit: Amritpal Singh/ Twitter
One of the “Big Three” of Indian basketball, the team captain Amritpal Singh, has been signed by Australia’s Sydney Kings for the new National Basketball League (NBL) season. He is the first representative from India to sign for a club in the division after he caught King’s attention during their rookie camp in June.
“We welcome Amritpal to our organisation,” said Sydney Kings managing director Jeff Van Groningen on their official website. “We take our responsibility as a member of the global basketball community very seriously and endorse the NBL’s focus on ‘bridge-building’ with those that share an interest and passion for our great game both in India and within the Indian community here in Australia.”
He added: “We are excited at what Amritpal can contribute to the Kings as a strong, rebounding big man and we look forward to contributing to his rising career. He is young in the game but secured this opportunity through hard work and professionalism.”
Amripal Singh’s Journey So Far
The 26-year-old basketball player hails from a family of farmers in Fattuwal, Punjab. After playing kabaddi for most of his youth, the 6 foot 11 inches tall player handled his first basketball when he was 18. He joined the Ludhiana Basketball Academy in 2010, and captained the Indian team last year.
Singh’s appearances include the one for UBA’s Pune Peshwas and then playing alongside another of the Big Three, Amjyot from Tokyo Excellence in Japan. In April, he impressed the scouts in NBL Draft Combine in Melbourne with his defensive presence and footwork.
A report on NBL’s official website said of Draft Combine: “The captain of the Indian national team, Amritpal Singh, with a large frame and giant wing-span, was one of the standout performers at NBL Combine in Melbourne, capturing the attention of a number of coaches in attendance.”
He was invited along with other senior basketball players Amjyot Singh Gill, Yadwinder Singh, and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi for the NBL Draft combine.
What Clinched it for Singh
Amritpal Singh was key to the Kings’ win against Lithuania in the Atlas Challenge tournament in China, with 17 points and 16 rebounds. Sydney Kings head coach Andrew Gaze said of the Indian captain on the Kings official website: “Amritpal was a very strong contributor to the Kings’ offseason program, particularly during our invitational tour to China.”
He added: “His rebounding was a major factor that allowed us to win the Suzhou event, and he also picked up our overall playing philosophies and schemes quite quickly.”
The Sydney Kings are up against the Adelaide 36ers on October 7. Bhriguvanshi, the former captain of India, has signed a one-year training deal with Adelaide 36ers. Started in 1979, the NBL is an 8-team league, with seven teams from Australia and one from New Zealand, which is played between October and March.