Basketball and India

G League Ignite head coach Brian Shaw relates interesting basketball stories to Princepal Singh

With Princepal Singh on the NBA G League Ignite roster, head coach Brian Shaw receives at least a couple of questions about him in each of his media availability.

The 20-year-old might not be among the highest-ranked prospects on the squad but he's certainly impressed Coach Shaw in his own way.

In a media availability in December, Coach Shaw called Singh the 'most improved' among all the prospects on the Ignite squad. Later, on Jan. 26 in another post-practice Zoom media availability, Shaw called him Singh the 'MVP of practice'.

This past Tuesday (Feb. 2), in his first Zoom media availability from Orlando at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort where the team had arrived on Monday for the 2021 G League season, coach heaped more praise on another of Singh's personality trait - determination.

"When he got in, I was going to try to kind of work him in slowly but he insisted on jumping right in and trying to get up to speed with what everybody else was doing."

When he landed in San Francisco last October, Singh was the last to join the squad - nearly two months since teammate Jalen Green, among the first to arrive, had touched down - but it wasn't all talk, Singh backed up his words with extra work, coming in early before the scheduled practices.

Initially, he just did it quietly, something Shaw understood really well from his playing days.

"I played a year in Rome, and so I understand what it's like to be far away from home where everybody else speaks a different language. And so I've been sensitive to that." Along with Danny Ferry, Shaw played for a year in Italy for the club Il Messaggero Roma before returning to the United States to sign with the Boston Celtics in 1990.

MORE: G League Ignite - Full roster, coaching staff, and 2021 schedule

Coming back to Singh, coach Shaw has repeatedly talked about his hard work and how his confidence has grown with each passing day, but the Indian forward still had to overcome the foreign language, one he isn't fully well-versed in yet.

"I don't think that there was a big learning curve for him because I think basketball is basketball," Coach Shaw began explaining. "The biggest thing, I think, with him was communication, like, understanding when his man goes to set a screen on somebody, how to communicate that to his guard that has the screen set on him."

Coach had something for that, referencing a story about former Chicago Bull and 3-time NBA Champion Bill Cartwright that he shared with Singh and the squad.

Image above: Bill Cartwright (far right)

"He had got elbowed in the throat, and so, he kind of lost his voice," Coach Shaw said about Cartwright. "His voice wasn't very loud, so what he did - when his man would run up to set a screen, he would just clap real loud with his hands. His players understood that when he clapped that meant something was coming and that made them alert.

"With Princepal, I understand that there's going to be a delay a little bit because of the language barrier but just getting him to understand that regardless of what it is if you can't think of the word make a noise."

This tactic, a sort of non-verbal communication, is something Singh and the team have been able to adjust to, helping them establish and improve their on-court chemistry.

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.

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