The Sydney Kings held their second basketball rookie camp yesterday at Auburn Basketball Centre. Twenty-five aspiring young talents competed for a chance to earn one of two main roster spots and four development player positions.
Of the twenty-five invitees, one player literally stood out amongst all of them. In particular, 6’10”, 110kg Indian centre Amritphal Singh.
The 26-year old Indian National Team Captain from North Punjab flew down to Australia to participate in the NBL Combine last week but stayed back to try his luck with the Sydney Kings.
Nicknamed “Singh” or “Amrit”, he currently plays for Pune Peshwas in the UBA Pro Basketball League in India. The gentle giant was excited to get an opportunity to showcase his talents on international soil.
“I am very happy to be in Australia. The game here is a lot faster and much more physical than in India. I hope that the next time I come back, I’ll be playing for the Sydney Kings,” said Singh.
Singh also added that he tries to pattern his game to Dwight Howard, one of his favourite players in the NBA.
During yesterday’s scrimmage, the big man threw down a few thunderous dunks, grabbed numerous defensive rebounds and matched up well against newly-signed Kings rookie forward Dane Pineau.
Sydney Kings Assistant Coach Lanard Copeland spoke highly of Singh.
“He’s definitely a big that can help. He played well yesterday afternoon. He’s the kind of guy that you put inside the paint to hold down the fort. He’s a big that can go body to body with someone like Nathan Jawai from Cairns.
After watching the way he works on the floor, he’s definitely a consideration. We need to go back and meet with the rest of the coaching staff and make some very tough decisions,” said Copeland.
If the Kings like what they saw yesterday, Singh will be the first Indian-born player to ever suit for up for an Australian professional basketball team.
He could well follow the footsteps of former basketball star Eban Hyams, an Australian player with Indian-Israeli roots who played for NBL expansion club Singapore Slingers back in 2006.
Head Coach Andrew Gaze and Assistant Coach Lanard Copeland conducted the tryouts while General Manager Jeff Van Groningen and his Kings staff were attentively taking down notes. Kings stars Jason Cadee and Tom Garlepp also came down to show their support.
Singh flew back home to India earlier this morning with fingers crossed.
Other notable players who were invited to the Sydney Kings Rookie Camp included 6’9″ swingman Manny Malou, Mathiang Muo, Tevin Jackson, Sam Daley, Jack Purchase, former Kings guard Indiana Faithfull, Issac Signal, Lucas and Lachlan Barker, and Clay Carfino, son of former Sydney Kings legend Steve “Mr Magic” Carfino.
The Kings have already signed up Pineau, Todd Blanchfield and import Perry Ellis for the upcoming NBL season to join holdovers Cadee, Garlepp, Kevin Lisch and Brad Newley.
Sydney will kickstart their pre-season training towards the end of July.