"First of all, today, Princepal was probably the MVP of practice."
That's what Ignite head coach Brian Shaw said this past Wednesday (Jan. 27) when asked about 19-year-old Indian prospect Princepal Singh.
The practice was probably among the last the squad participated in before leaving their home at Walnut Creek for the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida, the bubble site for the 2021 G League season.
"He came in early this morning before everybody else got here and got in about 45 minutes of intense workout on the court with our assistant coaches," Shaw continued. "And it paid immediate dividends for him during the scrimmages today and so, his confidence has grown tremendously since when he first got here."
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Singh first arrived in San Francisco at the beginning of October and has been training with the team since.
Despite taking a couple of breaks from the Ignite team bubble since joining the squad, including a stint with the national team at the FIBA 2021 Asia Cup Qualifiers in Bahrain, Shaw was not short on praise for Singh's growth.
"His stamina is getting better, his strength, his range. From what I saw before he got here, he was a pretty decent inside player and midrange player," Shaw explained. "Now, he's been able to extend his range out to the 3-point line because of today's game, you know, big guys have to be able to space the floor and shoot 3s as well."
MORE: Silver lining from India's disappointing Window 2 of the FIBA 2021 Asia Cup Qualifiers
Not knowing the language and practicing halfway across the world from home can be an obstacle in itself, but Singh's putting in the extra yards - something that's grabbing the attention of his coaches and teammates. He's picking up on what counts, such as being able to implement the plays and defensive schemes.
In fact, his teammate Jalen Green - No. 1 on ESPN's 2020 Top 100 - believes great things lie ahead for Singh.
"Biggest thing with Princepal is he works hard," Green said during the post-practice media availability. "He can do it all. He's just got to do it with more confidence, and I think he can be a really good player representing India."
In an earlier media availability, Shaw called Singh the "most improved" among all the prospects, although he added that Singh will have to compete to get significant minutes on the floor.
"So, I know and can tell that he hasn't played basketball as long as the rest of these guys have. So, he's not necessarily on the same level athletically and just in terms of having the experience of playing the game."
MORE: Singh understands G League stint is stepping stone to NBA dream
Since first picking up the sport in 2015, Singh's meteoric rise has been well documented. More importantly, he's improved every step of the way, and playing with the likes of Green and Jonathan Kuminga on the Ignite will only help him reach his full potential.
"It's going to be tough for him to get significant minutes but I think, for him, the biggest benefit is being able to play against these guys everyday at practice."
If Singh checks-in during any game in the G League bubble, he will become only the third Indian, after Satnam Singh and Amjyot Singh, to take the court in an NBA G League game.
The Ignite will face-off against Jeremy Lin and the Santa Cruz Warriors to tip-off the G League season on Feb. 10.
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