Today, the Sydney Kings made an announcement that represents a huge moment for the basketball fraternity in India, as they signed centre Amritpal Singh to play in the 2017-18 season of the National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia. The twenty six year old is the first Indian-born player to make the roster of an Australian NBL team, less than two months after Vishesh Bhriguvanshi signed a one-year training deal with the Adelaide 36ers.
The Sydney Kings scouted Singh at the NBL Draft Combine in April, and he impressed at the Sydney Kings Rookie Camp in June. He was invited to play for the Sydney Kings Invitational Team at the Atlas Challenge in Suzhou, China.
He racked up double-doubles in all three games he played for the Kings in China, including a dominant performance (17 points and 16 rebounds) in the championship game against Lithuania.
After that tournament, Singh joined the national team at this month’s Asia Cup in Lebanon, finishing the tournament with an average of 11 points and 8 rebounds per game.
At 212 cm (7 feet), Singh is a strong rebounder who has also been praised for his athleticism. “He’s got great athleticism, runs the floor, got good hands, got good shooting touch,” Sydney Kings’ coach Andrew Gaze told reporters in Sydney.
Singh’s first assignment will be the biggest game of his career so far, when the Kings travel to the United States to play a pre-season game against the NBA’s Utah Jazz on October 2nd (October 3rd, 0630 IST). It promises to be a huge moment for a player who hails from Punjab and only began playing basketball at the age of 19.
Indian basketball fans now have a big reason to follow the Sydney Kings, as they begin their NBL season with a game against the Adelaide 36ers on October 7th. You can find the entire Sydney Kings’ season schedule here.
About the Sydney Kings
The Sydney Kings is a franchise in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL). A three-time NBL Champion, Sydney Kings are based out of the city of Sydney, New South Wales. The franchise was founded in 1988 and is owned by AEG Ogden. All of the Kings’ home games are played at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney Olympic Park which is also popularly known as ‘The Kingdome’.
For more information visit: www.sydneykings.com
About the National Basketball League
(Sourced verbatim from the official NBL page. The link: www.nbl.com.au/history)
The National Basketball League of Australia is regarded as one of the premier basketball leagues in the world, and after a humble beginning, is today home to some of the world’s best players.
In 1978, New South Wales Basketball president John Raschke sat with 10 interested parties in an unused aircraft hangar at Sydney Airport to discuss the formation of a national competition that would help the development of the sport throughout Australia.
A national competition was also seen as a way of improving the standard of players who would compete for Australia at events such as the Olympic Games and World Championships.
Since that day, the NBL has grown from a fledgling competition with games played in front of just a few hundred people to a league that attracts more than 750,000 spectators each season, as well as prime-time television audiences for games broadcast nationally.
While games were initially played in small suburban stadiums, clubs now perform at major Australian arenas, including Perth Arena which can seat 14,000+ spectators.
Basketball also has one of the highest participation rates of any team sport in Australia, with numbers continuing to grow each year.
Between 1979 and 1997, the NBL season was played between April and September, but in 1998 the league moved its season to the summer place, with games played between October and April.
Eight teams currently compete in the NBL – the Adelaide 36ers, Cairns Taipans, Melbourne United, New Zealand Breakers, Perth Wildcats, Sydney Kings, Brisbane Bullets and Illawarra Hawks.