Punjab teenager Prince Pal Singh earns $75,000 scholarship to train in USA, could play in NCAA by 2020
The most amazing things life happen in highly unlikely circumstances and to people who do not even see it coming, ask 15-year-old Prince Pal Singh from Punjab and his family. Only a few days back, Prince, who is enrolled at the Ludhiana Basketball Academy, earned a three-year scholarship to study at the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio, USA. Prince has an incredible height of nearly 7 feet (6”10-11) and his abilities have landed him the chance to become an NBA player like Satnam Singh Bhamara.
An open trial was conducted at the Delhi Public School, Rajnandgaon, Chattisgarh, by an organisation called Players1st Sports Managment in association with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre and School Games Federation of India (SGFI), inviting students aged 14-19 years old to participate and earn the scholarship. Prince, due to his amazing game and height, stood out among other students and was noticed by the officials.
Dermot Russell, a part of the Players1st sports management and a certified FIBA agent, was present for the trials and was extremely impressed with Prince Pal’s abilities. Speaking to Sportskeeda, he expressed positivity with respect to Prince’s prospects of landing himself a contract in NCAA and even the NBA.
“Prince looks set to make a difference to Indian basketball, only difference is that standing at 6’11’ at 15 years old and having the level of athleticism he has, the likelihood he will reach 7’0’’+ in addition to the opportunity to train at Spire academy, he is likely to sign with a Top 25 NCAA program in 3 years time, and my prediction is that he could potentially been a NBA draft pick should he seize the opportunity he is currently been given, for Prince, the hard work starts now,“ he said.
Furthermore, he said, “Subject to meeting certain academic and visa requirements, Prince will be offered a verbal commitment from Spire Director of Basketball, of a full scholarship which means the full cost of Spires fees for the remainder of his high school career will be covered. Fees at Spire for foreign students can range up to $75,000 (Needs verification as I believe it’s been reduced recently; not sure how much) He will move there in Sept 16 and graduate in June 19’ (3 years development).”
Punjab is not unknown to producing basketballs players as Satnam Singh Bhamara, who became the first Indian to be drafted in the NBA when he was picked by Dallas Mavericks, belongs to the North Indian state. The circumstances in which Prince has grown up are quite remarkable as his father is the cashier with the electricity board and their family lives in a town named Dera Baba Nanak, which is located in Gurdaspur district and is in close proximity to the India-Pakistan border.
We spoke to Prince‘s father Gurmej Singh and he talked about how his son’s life turned around in an instant about a year back. “A local coach saw his height and said that Prince should move to a proper basketball academy. We are really happy and hope that he makes the country proud.“
On being asked about how Prince is so tall, his father said, “Everyone in our family is tall include myself (6 feet), my wife (5 feet 10 inches) and my other son (6 feet). So it is not a big surprise to see Prince’s height.”
To see such developments coming from remote areas in India is quite heartening as one would actually expect them to take place in cities with a set infrastructure and organisation. However, adversity brings out the best in a lot of people and maybe Prince Pal Singh is a manifestation of the same fact.