Basketball and India

Head coach Brian Shaw calls Princepal Singh most improved among the G League Ignite prospects

Princepal Singh
(Facebook/NBA G League)

Princepal Singh has had a busy past couple of months.

Since the beginning of October, he's been training with his teammates at Walnut Creek - home of the G League Ignite. Towards the end of November, he flew halfway across the world to suit up as India's starting center in two FIBA Asia Cup Qualifying games in Bahrain.

That hasn't stopped his game from improving, something of a constant in his short basketball career.

G League Ignite head coach Brian Shaw elaborates during a post-practice media availability last Friday (IST).

"One thing that I will say about Princepal is that he, in the first month that he was here, had the most room to improve out of everybody that was here and he improved the most out of everybody that was here."

Given the talent that he is surrounded by within the Ignite roster, Shaw's statement says plenty about a 19-year-old kid who only started playing basketball in 2015.

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With no professional basketball league in India, receiving a chance to improve by playing against a higher level of competition happens very rarely. But Singh has been fortunate to spend a majority of his time since 2015 in an NBA Academy, whether in Noida or Canberra.

And the time with the Ignite would be more of the same, wherein, he could compete against high-level international prospects who are just as old as him and continue to rise.

"He's benefitting from playing against Isaiah [Todd], Kai [Sotto], and [Jonathan] Kuminga and the veterans that we have here," explains Shaw.

"Because he wouldn't be able to get that kind of competition to play against on a daily basis as well as the coaching that he is getting and the personal time he's getting, on top you know, learning the language."

Despite the huge difference in languages, that hasn't been a barrier for Singh.

"Basketball is an American game, the terminology pretty much is universal," Shaw said. "Rebound is rebound in whatever language that you speak, so him getting familiar with that I've been pleasantly surprised in the progress that he's made."

In fact, in just a matter of a few weeks, Singh's starting to build a strong bond with his teammates.

"I tried to talk to Prince all the time. He hung out with me on my birthday actually," Singh's teammate Isaiah Todd in the team's post-practice media availability. 'Those two guys [Singh and Kai Sotto] have been like best friends for me as well and I just met them."

Although Singh remains calm, relaxed and focused to realizing his NBA dream, there's plenty riding on his young shoulders.

"You can imagine with all the people over there [South-East Asia] that if they achieve some success and are maybe the first from their countries to make it in the NBA, what impact that can have," Shaw says while talking about Singh and Philippines' Kai Sotto.

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