Amritpal set for tough challenge

01-09-2017
DH

It has been an incredible journey for Amritpal, who didn’t even pick up the sport until the age of 19. With the development, the 7-foot tall centre also became the first Indian-born player to represent an Australian team in NBL.

The 26-year-old impressed the Kings’ coach Andrew Gaze at the NBL Draft Combine held in Melbourne in April. His performance at the Sydney Kings Rookie Camp was also noteworthy.

He was then picked to play in the Kings invitational team, which won the Atlas Challenge tournament in China. Amritpal was a key figure in their title winning clash against Lithuania, starring with 17 points, which eventually earned him the 11th and the final spot in the Kings’ roster.

The Punjab native was delighted with the chance. “I am very happy. It is a very big opportunity for me to play and learn in a team like this,” said Amritpal said, who signed the contract on August 27.

This is not his first stint with a foreign league. Amritpal had earlier played for Tokyo Excellence in Japan’s National Basketball Development League. But the challenge of playing in Australia’s top league is totally different, believed Amritpal.

“The league here (NBL) is much tougher than the one I played in Japan. The players here are big, strong and skillful,” Amritpal said.

Amritpal is part of the squad that will travel to play Utah Jazz, an American professional basketball team based in Salt Lake City, for their pre-season game on October 3.

“My position will be the same. I will play as a centre in the team or whatever the coach think is right,” Amritpal said.

In July, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, the former Indian skipper, had signed a one-year training deal with NBL team Adelaide 36ers.

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