Satnam Singh

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Satnam Singh
Satnam Singh Bhamara.jpg
Singh (left) with the Indian national team in 2013
No. 52 – St. John's Edge
Position Center
League NBL Canada
Personal information
Born (1995-12-10) 10 December 1995 (age 23)
Baloke, Punjab, India
Nationality Indian
Listed height 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m)
Listed weight 290 lb (132 kg)
Career information
High school IMG Academy (Bradenton, Florida)
NBA draft 2015 / Round: 2 / Pick: 52nd overall
Selected by the Dallas Mavericks
Playing career 2015–present
Career history
2015–2017 Texas Legends
2018–present St. John's Edge

Satnam Singh Bhamara (born December 10, 1995) is an Indian professional basketball player for the St. John's Edge of the National Basketball League of Canada (NBL). He became the first Indian player to be drafted into the National Basketball Association (NBA) when the Dallas Mavericks selected him with the 52nd overall pick of the 2015 NBA draft. At 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) and 290 pounds (130 kg),[1] Singh plays the center position. He played high school basketball at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Early life

Singh was born on December 10, 1995 to Balbir Singh and Sukhwinder Kaur in Baloke, a small, remote village located in the state of Punjab.[2][3] Both Singh's father, who played basketball due to his exceptional height, and his paternal grandfather were wheat farmers and millers. He grew up with two siblings, sister Sarabjot Kaur and brother Beant Singh.[3][4]

When he was 9 years old, Singh stood 5 feet 3 inches (1.60 m), taller than most of the adults in his village.[3] His father helped introduce him to basketball and mounted a hoop in a dirt courtyard near his house. By local spectators, Singh was nicknamed "Chhotu," meaning "little one" in Punjabi, as his rapid physical growth made the basketball seem to shrink in his hands over time. Singh soon saw great success in youth leagues in his state.[4]

At age 10, he enrolled at Ludhiana Basketball Academy in Ludhiana, Punjab with the help of his father's friend Rajinder Singh.[3][4] At the academy, Singh first learned many basketball skills and drills.[2] At age 13, Singh stood 6 feet 11 inches (2.11 m), weighed 230 pounds (104 kg), and wore size-18 shoes.[4] As he was further exposed to professional basketball, including the NBA, he began idolizing Kobe Bryant and modeling his game after Yao Ming and Dwight Howard.[4]

High school career

In early 2010, it was announced that the global sports marketing business IMG was partnering with Reliance Industries, the largest corporation in India, to form a new company known as IMG Reliance (IMGR). They formed a new sports and entertainment marketing company and made their first move by signing a 30-year contract with the Basketball Federation of India (BFI). The decision was an attempt at improving the facilities and leagues in the country and they started allowing athletes to attend the Bradenton-based IMG Academy on a full scholarship.[4]

Singh led the Punjab state youth team to a national championship in June 2010, leading the BFI to choose him to play at an NBA Basketball Without Borders camp in Singapore. The BFI's head coach, Harish Sharma, had him play against members of the Indian national team, and he managed to compete with them. Sharma recommended Singh for IMGR to consider him for a scholarship, but at 14 years of age, he was too old. Sharma said, "This boy, you will want to see. I've told people many times, he can become India's Yao Ming."[4] Troy Justice, who directed basketball operations for the NBA in India, also visited Punjab and discovered Singh at the NBA Mahindra Challenge.[2] He said, "First time I saw him play, he was wearing shoes that were falling apart. The seams had split, and he was coming right out of them. That's all he had. He was growing so fast. We helped him get shoes. I've heard people talk, but we're not sure they know how big he'll get."[2] Justice had confidence in him, however, saying, "He can be the chosen one for basketball in India."[4]

Nevertheless, Singh was later awarded a scholarship under the IMGR basketball training academy and shifted to Bradenton, Florida in September 2010. Despite knowing no English at the time, he was one of 29 student-athletes—male and female combined—to be selected to train at IMG Academy.[2][4] During the 2014–15 season, he averaged 9.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in less than 20 minutes per game for IMG, the No. 2 ranked team in the country.[5] However, due to his poor English and lack of American citizenship, Singh was ineligible for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).[6]

Professional career

In April 2015, Singh was announced as an early entrant for the 2015 NBA draft.[7] At the draft on June 25, 2015, he was selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the 52nd overall pick, becoming the first Indian-born player to be drafted into the NBA.[8] Singh also became the first player since the 2005 draft to enter without playing in college, overseas professionally, or in the NBA Development League.[9]

Texas Legends (2015–2017)

In July 2015, Singh joined the Mavericks for the 2015 NBA Summer League.[10] On October 31, 2015, he was acquired by the Texas Legends, the D-League affiliate of the Mavericks.[11] On November 13, 2015, he made his professional debut in a 104–82 loss to the Austin Spurs, recording four points, three rebounds and one assist in nine minutes.[12] On February 5, 2016, he had a season-best game with six points and six rebounds in 22 minutes of action as a starter in a 136–80 loss to Raptors 905.[13] He appeared in 9 games (two starts) for the Legends during the 2015–16 season, averaging 1.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in 7.9 minutes per game.

On October 30, 2016, Singh was re-acquired by the Legends.[14] After playing for the Legends during the 2016–17 season, he joined the Dallas Mavericks for the 2017 NBA Summer League.[15] In January 2017, he featured in a one-hour documentary on Netflix, titled "One in a Billion," which covered his background and path to the NBA.[16]

On November 3, 2017, Singh signed a contract with the UBA Pro Basketball League in India.[17] In January 2018, he took part in the UBA US Pro Performance Camp in Phoenix, Arizona.[18]

St. John's Edge (2018–present)

On September 6, 2018, Singh signed with the St. John's Edge of the National Basketball League of Canada.[19] His arrival to the team's training camp was delayed by visa issues, which were settled after he contacted Canadian and Indian government officials through Twitter.[20]

National team career

In the summer of 2009, when he was 13 years old, Singh played for the Indian national under-16 basketball team at the 2009 FIBA Asia Under-16 Championship hosted by Johor Bahru, Malaysia.[4] He averaged 1.5 points per game in limited minutes, as his team finished in 10th place.[4][21] Singh debuted for the senior Indian national team at the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship in Wuhan, China, where he averaged 2.5 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.[22] At the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship, he received more playing time, averaging 4.2 points and 2.7 rebounds for India.[23] Singh returned to his national team for the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Beirut, Lebanon.[24] However, he struggled to keep up with the pace and only played about 8 minutes per game during the tournament.[25] Singh averaged just 1 point and 0.7 rebounds through three games.[26] In 2017 and 2018, he joined India at 2019 FIBA World Cup qualification, assuming a leading role due to the absences of multiple key players.[27]

References

  1. ^ "Satnam Singh Bhamara". ESPN. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  2. ^ a b c d e "NBA Awaits Satnam From India, So Big and Athletic at 14". AOL News. 10 November 2010. Archived from the original on 10 March 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Najar, Nida (July 29, 2015). "N.B.A. Pick From India Makes Entire Village Feel 7 Feet Tall". The New York Times. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Winegardner, Mark (26 June 2015). "The Mavericks' Satnam Singh becomes NBA's first Indian-born player". ESPN. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  5. ^ Mahoney, Rob. (2015-04-21) Indian prodigy Satnam Singh Bhamara exploring NBA draft. Si.com. Retrieved on 2015-10-16.
  6. ^ Judge, Shahid (24 April 2015). "With college dream fast fading, Satnam Singh Bhamara hopes to take draft route to NBA". Indian Express. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  7. ^ "NBA announces early entry candidates for 2015 Draft". National Basketball Association. April 29, 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  8. ^ Bengali, Shashank (June 26, 2015). "Mavericks draft Satnam Singh, the NBA's first Indian-born player". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  9. ^ Sherman, Rodger (June 26, 2015). "Everything you need to know about Satnam Singh, the NBA Draft's most fascinating prospect". SB Nation. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  10. ^ "MAVERICKS ANNOUNCE 2015 SUMMER LEAGUE ROSTER AND SCHEDULE". Mavs.com. July 6, 2015. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
  11. ^ "Legends Complete Two Trades, Announce 2015-16 Training Camp Roster". OurSportsCentral.com. October 31, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  12. ^ "Cotton, Spurs Rout Legends as Satnam Singh Debuts". NBA.com. November 13, 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  13. ^ "Sim Bhullar and Satnam Singh Square Off in Historic Meeting". NBA.com. February 5, 2016. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  14. ^ Wynn, Britney (October 30, 2016). "Legends Announce Training Camp Roster". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  15. ^ Sohi, Seerat (July 14, 2017). "At NBA summer league, Satnam Singh is still fighting for his chance". ESPN. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  16. ^ Joseph, Adi (January 16, 2017). "'One in a Billion' captures Satnam Singh's journey, leaves future of India Basketball open". Sporting News. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  17. ^ "UBA Signs Satnam Singh, first Indian National drafted into the NBA". UBA Pro Basketball League. November 3, 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  18. ^ "Satnam Singh- Raising their Game: UBA US Pro Performance Camp". SportsKeeda. January 16, 2018. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  19. ^ "Edge Sign Satnam Singh". St. John's Edge. September 6, 2018. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  20. ^ "St. John's Edge centre Singh to join team after visa issues". CBC. October 30, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  21. ^ "Satnan Singh Bhamara's profile - 2009 FIBA Asia U16 Championship for Men". FIBA. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  22. ^ "Satnam Singh Bhamara's profile - 2011 FIBA Asia Championship". FIBA. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  23. ^ "Satnam Singh Bhamara's profile - 2013 FIBA Asia Championship for Men". FIBA. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  24. ^ "Satnam Singh to make big difference for India according to Sharma". FIBA. April 18, 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  25. ^ Madhok, Karan (August 22, 2017). "Breakdown in Beirut: What went wrong for Indian men's basketball team at FIBA Asia Cup?". Scroll.in. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  26. ^ "Satnam Singh Bhamara's profile - 2017 FIBA Asia Cup". FIBA. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  27. ^ "India's Satnam Singh: We are a different team now". FIBA. June 18, 2018. Retrieved September 8, 2018.

External links

  • NBA D-League profile
  • NBADraft.net profile
  • SB Nation profile
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