NBL first as Kings sign Indian
Amritpal Singh was raised in a village in northern India, now he is preparing to represent the Sydney Kings and the NBL on basketball’s big stage.
The 26-year-old centre is set to be the first Indian player in the NBL after signing a one-year deal with the Kings.
The club has confirmed he will travel to the US for the preseason exhibition clash against Utah in Salt Lake City on October 3 at the Jazz’s 19,000-seat home arena.
The 212cm Singh impressed coach Andrew Gaze initially at the NBL draft combine and again in off-season trials, earning a contract despite only taking up the sport at 19.
He made his debut for India a year later before captaining the national team last year.
Gaze urged patience with Singh, but expects him to contribute from early in the season.
“He’s got great athleticism, runs the floor, got good hands, got good shooting touch,” Gaze said yesterday.
“He’s got great size. Last season, one of the major deficiencies we had was our rebounding.
“He rebounds the ball really well.”
Singh led the Kings for boards in their recent off-season tour of China, also averaging 11 points and eight rebounds at this month’s Asia Cup.
Kings boss Jeff Van Groningen hoped Singh’s recruitment would expose the club to the big Indian market in Australia.
Gaze said Singh was recruited on ability and the decision to take him was not made lightly.
“Strip away his nationality, if this guy was Australian, how would we look at him?”