LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 16: Satnam Singh #52 of the Dallas Mavericks waits for the rebound against the NBA D-League Select on July 16, 2015 at The Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 16: Satnam Singh #52 of the Dallas Mavericks waits for the rebound against the NBA D-League Select on July 16, 2015 at The Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada. Image courtesy: NBA Entertainment.

There is one man living a different sort of dream, despite coming from a nation where cricket is the only big sport. From a small village in Punjab, he made it to the front page of every newspaper.

Life has changed for Satnam Singh after he’s moved to America, and after his first two summer league games he had a lot to share. Singh talked about the kind of exposure he got at the IMG  academy in Florida and the coaches he got to work with, that according to him, gave him the best chance to play for the NBA. How Summer League and the D League is important for players who are looking for improvement. He also mentioned how he’s lucky to get this opportunity at a young age of 19 years and is determined to work hard for the coming years at the D League to be the best he can be.

The team of Dallas Mavericks especially have been very supportive of him. Mark Cuban and the coaches met him after his first summer league game and told him to now look forward to the next game, work and play harder.

Team Ekalavyas’ Adarsh Rao spoke to Satnam a couple of nights ago and here’s what he had to say:

Q1) What was going on in your mind when you were called to go on the court by your Coach? And were you nervous because of an entire nation’s expectations on your shoulders?

I was ready myself, I was ready for my team. I was thinking about my teammates, my family and India.
My first game in the NBA and I want to do my best and maintain it.

All that was going in my mind during this first game was to keep moving the ball and shoot if I was open. I told himself that I’ll play my best, be it for 1 minute or 10 minutes, I’ll get out there and perform.

Q2) The transition to the Summer League is difficult since the level of basketball here is exceptionally high. Do you think you are at any kind of loss because you have no  experience at college level basketball? How are you preparing yourself?

It was my first time, I never played at this stage. I’m not in college so that’s 2 years of experience that I lack. I think it’s really important to play for college because all my coaches and teammates have that experience and I’m learning. I’m not fast on my feet but I’m trying.

‘Work, work, work’ that’s what the coaches keep telling me. It is very important to show your bosses what you can do.

As far power is concerned, I am not far away from the players here but the game is much faster. What I am lacking right now is balance, as I have had surgeries on my knee and ankle. The coaches are working with me to get my footwork right.

When asked about his first two summer league games being losses, he responded by saying that all his teammates and coaches have given their best and there will always be issues in offense and defense. The team has to be aware of that and try to solve those issues as soon as possible and that is what we are trying to do.

On the difference between him and the other players in terms of style of play, Singh was honest to himself and admitted that the league is faster than any game he played in but he is just as strong as any other player. He mentioned that playing alongside his teammates itself has helped him get fitter and faster. Singh also admitted that his balance is still an issue and promised that with each game he will get better. “When I am completely fit and balanced I’ll play better than I ever have.”

His dream is loud and clear. For himself, he wants to make it be an NBA starter and play in the league for the next 10-15 years. For India, he wants his motherland to shine in basketball and wants to bring at least 10-15 players from the Indian team to the NBA.

Bottom line, he says it feels good to be in the NBA.

We agree.

Adarsh Rao
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