Gurdaspur (Punjab) [India], July 29 (ANI): Basketball player Princepal Singh, who became the first NBA Academy graduate to sign up with NBA G league, said he always wanted to be a sportsman but never thought of playing basketball.
Princepal, 6 ft 10 inches tall is the first NBA Academy graduate to sign with the NBA G League and first NBA Academy India graduate to sign a professional contract.
"I always wanted to be a sportsman but I never thought of becoming a basketball player. I want to play in NBA USA. I will work hard to extend my contract and will take forward the Indian team," Princepal told ANI.
He started playing basketball at the Ludhiana Basketball Academy and then he went on to join The NBA Academy India in 2017, an elite basketball training centre in Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) for the top prospects from throughout India.
In November 2018, he transitioned to The NBA Global Academy which is the league's hub for top male and female prospects from outside the USA. Princepal continued his development in Canberra, Australia, before graduating this spring.
"I started playing basketball at the age of 14 at Ludhiana Basketball Academy. I was 6.6 feet tall so my coach Jaipal said 'You have a bright future in basketball'. I got selected for Punjab under-16 team then I played for India under-18," Princepal said.
Throughout his time in the NBA Academy program, Princepal participated in several high-profile international basketball events, including Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Asia 2018, BWB Global 2018, and the NBA Global Camp 2018.
He also represented India in international competitions as part of the Indian men's senior national team.
"I became captain of India under-18 team then I got selected in the Australian academy. I have visited the USA multiple times and many other countries to play. I have played for India and NBA Academy too. My family always supported me. It was difficult to stay far from home initially," he said.
Princepal is the youngest of three siblings and is the first sportsperson from his family.
When asked to give a message to the youngsters he said, "Pick up a sport and pursue it as the life of a sportsman is very good. Avoid intoxication and keep yourself fit and healthy."
Princepal will now have the opportunity to accelerate his on-court development alongside top high school recruits from the class of 2020 Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd, Daishen Nix, Kai Sotto, and Jonathan Kuminga who have signed to play in the NBA G League for the 2020-21 season.
Five-time NBA champion Brian Shaw will serve as head coach of their team, which will be unaffiliated with any existing NBA G League franchise or NBA team. (ANI)