'Much-improved' Princepal Singh targets match time in NBA G-League

The 20-year-old Indian is part of the developmental team Ignite and has been impressive in training so far

By Samrat Chakraborty

Rising Indian basketball player Princepal Singh might not be as experienced as his teammates in the NBA G-League developmental side Ignite but is gradually rising through the ranks.

Princepal, a product of the NBA Academy in India, was signed up by the G-League's developmental side in July 2020 when he was at NBA's Global Academy in Canberra, Australia.

The youngster joined Ignite which comprised of elite youth prospects from around the globe, with upcoming stars like shooting guard Jalen Green (USA) who is expected to be a highly anticipated pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. There is also popular names like Kai Sotto (Philippines), Isaiah Todd (USA), Jonathan Kuminga (DR Congo) and Daishen Nix (USA) who are all highly rated.

All of these names, including Princepal, are eligible for the 2021 NBA Draft.

Even though there is a certain language barrier for the Firozpur-born player, he takes cue from signs during the training and has started taking English lessons, besides working on his conditioning. However, the 6 feet 10 inch hoopster, wants to make sure he continues to improve and gets match time in the NBA G-League.

"When I came here, I was very excited to meet my teammates and coaches. I hadn't been on the court for a while because of the lockdown in India. So I was a little unfit. I worked on my conditioning," Singh told reporters during a virtual media interaction.

"I have improved in shooting and dribbling, passing sense," the 20-year-old added. "It is a big thing for me. I wanted to play in the G League. My aim is to do well here and then play in the NBA."

Singh joined the squad in October last year. His head coach, Brain Shaw, initially thought of working with him slowly but the motivated youngster was impressive in training and did his best to catch up with his teammates.

"I initially thought of working with him slowly, but he insisted on jumping right in and try and get up to speed with everyone else. Out of all our young guys, he was last to come in but he's worked very hard," Shaw said.

"He's adjusted well, his confidence is very high. He feels good about the work that he's been putting in every day, just getting better and stronger, building up his stamina," he added.

Shaw is optimistic that the quality of competition will help the 20-year-old grow and terms him the most improved player in the squad.

"The competition that he's playing against everyday is a high level competition and that's going to help his game and I have seen a lot of improvement in his game since he got here."

"I don't think he's been playing basketball as long as the guys we have on this team, but I think he's improved the most of all the guys we have here," he added.

When does the G-League start?

The G League is set to begin in Orlando on February 10, 2021. Ignite's campaign will start with a game against Santa Cruz Warriors (Feb 10, 9:30 PM IST) and they will play 15 matches.

If they can finish in the top eight, Ignite (who are making their debut) will qualify for the play-offs.