Ludhiana hoopster Princepal Singh selected in Indian teamDecember 5, 2018, Ludhiana
Three years ago, when he would wander aimlessly, the elders of his village would call him ‘Lamboo’ and ask him to make something out of his life. Princepal Singh, then 14, was 6 feet 6 inches tall. Height was his forte.
Now aged 17 and standing at 6 feet and 10 inches, Princepal was on Tuesday selected to play for the Indian men’s team at the Super Kung Sheung Cup International Basketball Invitation Championship in Hong Kong, from December 11 to 16.
The lanky hoopster’s meteoric rise is quite the story. “I had a great experience at The NBA Academy India and I’m excited for the next stage of my development here at The NBA Global Academy. I am looking forward to apply everything I’ve learnt (at the tournament),” Princepal told TOI from the national camp in Bengaluru.
Teja Singh Dhaliwal, the senior vice-president of Basketball Federation of India (BFI), called Princepal the “next big thing” in Indian basketball. “I have no doubts about that. His rise has been exemplary, and I am sure he will continue to do well,” he said.
Princepal is based at The NBA Global Academy in Canberra, Australia, and had trained at The NBA Academy India before that. Princepal has been part of multiple camps organised by the NBA, including Basketball Without Borders Global Camp, during the NBA All-Star 2018.
Princepal hails from Dera Baba Nanak village in Gurdaspur district. In 2015, when he gave trials at Ludhiana Basketball Academy (LBA), holding the hands of his father Gurmaje Singh, an electrician, he did not know a zilch about the basics of the sport. “I guess my height swayed the coaches at LBA to select me,” he said. “I was not aware of the basics of the game and it was new to me. Before coming to LBA, I had never seen a proper stadium. I was desperate to make the most of the opportunity.”
Journey so far
In May 2017, Princepal was called to represent the Indian U-18 team for the Fiba Asia Under-18 Championship in Malaysia. It was an experience and a learning curve for him. “Contrary to what people may think, I wasn’t nervous at all and gave my 110%. But i realized that the level at which players from other countries play was different. The way they controlled their diet and took care of their body was incredible. That tournament was an eye-opener for me. Then, I also started taking care of my body and controlling my diet,” he said.