Amritpal Singh creates history, becomes first Indian to be signed by Australian basketball team
The captain of the Indian basketball team, Amritpal Singh scripted history by becoming the first Indian-born player to be picked up by an Australian NBL team. He had earlier been a part of the four-member Indian contingent of Amjyot Singh, Yadwinder Singh and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, who had been a part of the National Basketball League (NBL) Draft Combine in Melbourne, Australia earlier this year. He was then invited by the Sydney Kings for the Atlas Challenge 2017 tournament in China.
The announcement was confirmed by the Sydney Kings on their Facebook page, where the team stated that they expected the Indian to make a big contribution.
They also confirmed the signing on the team's official website, where they confirmed that he is the first Indian-born player to play in the NBL. He will be a part of the Kings side as they begin their pre-season tour where they will also take on popular NBA side Utah Jazz, which will be an incredible achievement for Indian basketball.
“We welcome Amritpal to our organization. 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," said Sydney Kings Managing Director Jeff Van Groningen in a statement. He added that it Singh's signing was a significant one for the team and that they are looking forward to seeing him in action.
They were particularly impressed by his performances at the Atlas Challenge tournament, where he was an important part of the winning side and scored a massive 17 points and 16 rebounds in the championship match.
"Amritpal was a very strong contributor to the Kings offseason program, particularly during our invitational tour to China," said Andrew Gaze, the Kings head coach in the official statement. 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”, Gaze said.
It has been quite a rapid rise for the man from Punjab, who only started playing basketball when he was 19. The 26-year-old 7'0" star will hope to play an important role in his side's campaign for the new season, which is scheduled to begin in October this year.