This profile was originally published in Tadpoles Magazine and can be accessed here

In action against Qatar in the 2014 u-18 FIBA Asia Championships. Image credit FIBA Asia.

In action against Qatar in the 2014 u-18 FIBA Asia Championships. Image credit FIBA Asia.

Arshpreet Singh Bhullar is a breath of fresh air. While most of his Punjab teammates on the junior Indian basketball team are centres and forwards, Bhullar is a classic two guard with a jumpshot as smooth as silk. “Before every competitive match I watch videos of NBA shooter Stephen Curry.”

The boy from Jalandhar was a late entrant to the world of basketball. “I started playing only in 9th standard after getting inspired by my elder brother who has played for Punjab before.” Steadily making his way from the Jalandhar district team to the Punjab u-17 side and finally to the Indian u-18 men’s squad that toured Doha, Qatar for the FIBA Asia Championships 2014, Bhullar’s career graph has seen a meteoric rise. “My dream now is to make it to the senior national team.”

The 6ft 2 inch shooting guard has had the full support of his parents and teachers. “I’m currently doing my first year BA at Government College, Ludhiana and all I have to do is to speak to my physical education department and they allow me to skip class for playing assignments. My father too, who is in the Punjab Police, was a champion discus thrower at the All India inter-police games. So he backs my sporting ambitions.”

Arshpreet Singh receiving the MVP Award at the 2014 Junior Nationals.

Arshpreet Singh receiving the MVP Award at the 2014 Junior Nationals.

His big break came during the 2014 Junior Nationals in Kochi a few months ago, where he was named the most valuable player (MVP) after his scorching scoring performance in the finals against Delhi. “Every year Punjab reaches the knockouts and loses, so it was good to win after a gap of three years. I didn’t even know about the MVP award before the tournament. Our entire focus was the gold medal and not individual accomplishments.”

Bhullar continues to work hard on his game, especially his shooting. “Everybody has a ‘guun’ (special quality or trait). Just like Sachin can bat, I’m a natural three point shooter.” But don’t be fooled into thinking he was born with his fluidic jumpshot. “I train for hours each day and don’t leave without converting anywhere between 200-500 baskets from different positions on the court.”

The future seems bright for this 18-year-old college fresher. “My only request is to the Punjab government, to allocate more jobs for sportspersons. Compared to other states, unfortunately, we don’t have any options apart from joining Punjab Police.”

Gopalakrishnan R
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