Palpreet Singh: ‘US training helped secure NBA deal’

Palpreet Singh Brar, India’s latest entrant into the NBA D-League, has defended his decision to train at the New York Athletic Club with coach Ross Burn in Manhattan, while the Indian basketball team was competing in the FIBA Asia Challenge 2016.

The 6ft 9in hoopster, a product of the Ludhiana Basketball Academy, was picked up by Long Island Nets — affliated to Brooklyn Nets— in the D-League draft on Sunday. But his compatriots Amritpal Singh and Amyjot Singh, who performed admirably in FIBA Asia Challenge (Amritpal was featured in the tournament’s best team), missed out on the drafts.

“It was the right decision to go and train in USA. It helped me improve my physical condition. Now I will play in the league and improve myself. I will then be able to contribute more for the country,” said Palpreet to Sportstar when asked if training in USA helped him make the cut while the other Indians missed.

While Satnam Singh — first Indian to make it to the NBA D-League — does not play for India, Palpreet promised that he would never dump his national team.

“I would like to improve as a player but I would always love to represent my country in international competitions whenever I get a chance,” affirmed Palpreet.

The 21-year-old was very frank in his assesment of the coaching standards in India and stressed on the importance of having a professional league in the country.

“There is a lot of difference in standard of coaching in India and the Development League. Whether it’s defence or offence, how to tactically deal with pressure situations, and the fitness training is of different level.

“It is important to have a league in India. I have heard if it is not started soon, FIBA might cancel our recognition. A league will certainly help the country’s players,” stressed Palpreet.

While Palpreet harbours the hope of making it to the major league one day, he intends to take things one step at a time.

“For the next one and half years, I would like to train well and do well in the D-League. I have not set myself any specific targets as to when I would like to see myself in the main league. That will depend on my performance. I have had sessions with Long Island Nets coaches. They have told me to play my natural game and not take any excess pressure,” said Palpreet.

Palpreet also paid tribute to his late coach Dr. S. Subramanian who played a major role in promoting basketball and unearthing talents such as Amyjot and Amritpal.

“We are all his students. The best players from India have been coached by him. It’s his bad luck that he did not get recognition. He was a cut above the rest, very different in his style of coaching,” concluded Palpreet.

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