Toronto-born basketball player Sim Bhullar is used to turning heads.
The 7'5" centre for the New Mexico State Aggies did just that on Wednesday, when he was met by a crowd of reporters as he worked out with the Raptors, The Toronto Sun reported.
Though he's a long shot to be drafted into the NBA on June 26, he still grabbed attention away from first-round prospects such as Jerami Grant, Cleanthony Early and Glenn Robinson III.
"I’m used to the attention, the pictures, getting stopped all the time," he said. "It’s become an everyday thing for me.”
The reason is simple: at his height, he could soon be the tallest active player in the NBA.
But he'd also be a cultural trailblazer. The son of immigrants from Punjab would be the first basketball player of Indian descent to make the league, The New York Times reported.
This status did not go unnoticed when he visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar in 2011. So many people wanted to meet him that he was hidden away in an office.
"I think it would be a blessing," he said at the time, "to be the first from an entire country to go to the NBA and be a role model."
Bhullar also isn't alone among family members chasing an NBA dream. His 19-year-old brother Tanveer is a freshman with the Aggies and, at 7'3", he's no small presence himself.
It may take some time before Sim makes his dream a reality, but he's making progress.
At 21 years old, he has twice been named MVP of the Western Athletic Conference tournament, having helped get the Aggies to two consecutive championships.
Bhullar led the conference in blocked shots last year, averaging almost four per game, and was named to the league's all-defensive team, The Toronto Star reported.
But there are aspects of his game he must improve if he wants to reach the NBA. Part of that involves showing he can hold off guards in a pick-and-roll scenario.
It's a strategy in which one player dribbles while another blocks a defender. The player with the ball can then pass, shoot or drive to the net, said The New York Times.
Bhullar will have to demonstrate an agility that allows him to hold off guards in such a situation, rather than stand in the key and block shots as he's done in college, said The National Post.
But he's working on it. Since the season ended he claims to have dropped 16 pounds and he's trying to increase his muscle mass.
“The guys at the next level are a lot bigger and stronger (than college) and I’ve got to try to match that intensity," he said Wednesday.
Bhullar's workout with the Raptors was the first time he showed an NBA team his skills up close. He has plenty more work ahead if he wants to show anyone else what he can do.
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