NBL first as Kings sign In­dian

The West Australian - - SPORT -

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?”

Pic­ture: AAP

Am­rit­pal Singh

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