Basketball and India

Ignite veteran Amir Johnson calls Princepal Singh a 'workhorse', discusses his skills and areas of improvement

"Just a workhorse," Ignite veteran Amir Johnson said when asked about Indian Princepal Singh in the team's post-practice Zoom Media Availability on Sunday (Feb. 7).

Johnson's words just further reiterate what Ignite head coach Brian Shaw has been saying over the past couple of weeks, having given the 20-year-old from Punjab titles like 'Most Improved' and 'MVP of practice'.

"He's the type of player that works on his game before practice and after practice," Johnson continued. "I think he knows, for sure, he has room to get a lot better and he's just constantly working. A player that knows itself and knows what he can do and knows his capabilities and actually is willing to learn. That's all you can ask for."

Johnson is a 14-year veteran, who last played on an NBA team with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2019. On the Ignite he and Singh play a similar role on the squad - the one of a big man.

Both are about the same height around 6'10" but even after overlooking the huge gap in experience, there's plenty of difference.

"For Prince, I think he probably needs to work on a little bit more physicality," Johnson adds while talking about where Singh could further improve. "And he does that man. We're in the weight room together, lifting weights every day."

The former NBAer was one of several veterans, including Jarrett Jack, added to the Ignite a couple of months ago to play the role of mentors and help further coach the young elite prospects. Despite the relatively short time together, he's been amazed at the number of questions the young guys have asked him.

"I wasn't like that as a youngster," Johnson adds. "I was always like just a listener, learning, but they're at your door knocking like asking a question like, what if I do this, what agents. They have been totally responsive, very coachable. Learning every day and getting better. That's what you want from a player man."

MORE: Takeaways from Princepal's 1st-ever Ignite media availability

What question from Singh stuck with Johnson the most? - 'Positioning in the post'

"Knowing where to be in the right position to catch the ball which for bigs, we're usually available in the Dunker spot, which when the guard will penetrate and we will be available. I always tell him to keep his hands ready because that pass may come at any time. Running the floor, when you're not getting the rebound, be the big that's the first down the floor, so you can get easy, easy buckets."

Coach Shaw has repeatedly mentioned how Singh will have to compete for minutes on the floor. Whether he gets that or not during this 2021 G League regular season, one thing's for sure, this time practicing and training alongside NBA veterans like Johnsons is invaluable for Singh.

Princepal Singh and the Ignite will open their 15-game 2021 season against Jeremy Lin and the Santa Cruz Warriors on Feb. 10 at 9:30 p.m. IST.

Know your Ignite veteran - Amir Johnson

Selected 56th overall in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, Amir Johnson is an NBA veteran with 14 years of experience. In his time in the league, he has represented four franchises - Detroit Pistons (2005-09), Toronto Raptors (2009-15), Boston Celtics (2015-17), and the Philadelphia 76ers (2017-19).

Johnson played some of his best basketball while with the Canadian franchise as he recorded career-high tallies in nearly every major stat category while representing the Raptors.

Winner of the Hustle Award in 2018, Amir Johnson has averaged 7.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 870 career regular-season games. He has competed in eight postseasons, including six straight from 2013 to 2019, averaging 4.9 points and 3.4 rebounds in 54 career playoff games.

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