SPORTS

Kings sign Canadian centre Bhullar, NBA's 1st player of Indian descent, to 10-day deal

04/02/2015 12:43 EDT | Updated 06/02/2015 05:59 EDT
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Canada's Sim Bhullar has become the NBA's first player of Indian descent, signing a 10-day contract with the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings announced the deal Thursday. The seven-foot-five, 360-pound Bhullar was called up from the team's NBA Development League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns.

The 22-year-old centre could make his debut Friday when the Kings host the New Orleans Pelicans.

Bhullar was born in Toronto to Indian-born parents and played two seasons for New Mexico State. He twice won Western Athletic Conference tournament MVP and led the Aggies to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.

Undrafted last year, Bhullar joined the Kings in training camp before signing with Reno. He's averaging 10.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.8 blocks in the Bighorns' fast-paced system.

Bhullar has 11 double-doubles with Reno this season and had a triple-double with 26 points, 17 rebounds and 11 blocks on February 22 versus the Los Angeles Defenders.

In his two seasons at New Mexico State, Bhullar averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in 65 career games. He set a single-season school record for most blocked shots with 85 in 2012-13.

Sacramento is intrigued by Bhullar's size and heritage. Kings owner Vivek Ranadive is the NBA's first Indian-born owner and is trying to expand the league's presence in his native country.

When the Kings announced in August that Bhullar would compete for a roster spot in training camp, Ranadive called India the NBA's "next great frontier." He said Bhullar "represents one of many that will emerge from that region as the game continues to garner more attention and generate ever-increasing passion among a new generation of Indian fans."

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