This could potentially be huge for Indians and my fellow Brown Peeps all over the world - The giant Bhullar brothers, whose parents hailed from Punjab (India), who settled into Toronto (Canada), and who have recently been making some noise with their basketball at Kiski School in Pennslyvania (USA), may soon become a very, very big deal in the States.
College basketball recruiting in America is an uber-competitive, harsh, and crazy world, and it seems that once they finish High School, the Bhullar Brothers are set to become sought-after commodities.
Truly giants, Sim Bhullar (17) is 7 feet 4 inches, and weighs almost 130 kgs. The younger brother, Tanveer (15), is 7 feet 2 inches, and weighs around 118 kgs. Their parents hail from Amritsar, Punjab - father Avtar is 6-1 and mother Varinder is 5-10. Hey, the father's name is Avtar. Didn't anyone else see this coming? I've seen how tall those Na'vi are.
Anyways, since I last checked on the Bhullar Bros, they have improved considerably. Under the tutelage of Kiski School head coach Daryn Freedman, the brothers have improved several parts of their game. Leading the school to a 16-4 record this season, Sim averaged 16 points and 14 rebounds per game and his strenghts on the court include a surprising three-point range, strong passing, and the ability to finish strong around the basket. Tanveer, who averaged 12 and 11, possesses a smooth 15 to 17foot jumper, has quick feet and soft hands, which are key attributes to low-post success.
As American college sports website Rivals.com reports, some of the best colleges and coaches could be coming after the Bhullars very soon.
"You just don't find big guys that agile," Kiski School head coach Daryn Freedman said. "There's nothing like him in the country right now."
They both have improved immensely at Kiski School under Freedman, a longtime college and NBA assistant who arrived at the school about a month before the Bhullars did. They have since remade their bodies, regularly working out at 5 a.m. with the Kiski wrestling coach.
Sim, who has lost 30 pounds, could not run the court more than two or three times. Tanveer, who started last season as a backup, needed a month before he could dunk after a running start.
And while they both have areas to work on - Tanveer must resist the urge to shoot fadeaway jumpers and improve his foot speed; Sim needs to be a more active rebounder and to maintain his composure after committing a silly foul - there have been glimpses of greatness.
West Virginia has already offered Sim a scholarship. Duke plans to visit him.
Duquesne, Florida State, Kentucky, LSU, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Texas, UMass, USC and Washington State have expressed interest in both brothers.
The Bhullars are looking for a strong academic school that excels at developing big men and is close to Toronto. And they'd like to play together.
"If we could," Sim said, "we most likely would do it."
Anyone who has seen them together, understands why.
"Everyone thinks they're twins," Freedman said. "They're really, really tight... They definitely have each other's backs all the time."
It is definitely exciting to see the attention these boys are getting from top NCAA basketball colleges. They have an experienced coach in Daryn Freedman who has worked with several Division 1 schools and with NBA teams New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.
But the best part of their story has been the potential interest of superstar coach John Calipari of Kentucky. Calipari is the same guy who has coached the last two NBA rookie of the years, Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans. He is the same guy who has been the coach of the consensus top pick in the NBA Draft on June 24th, John Wall. He is the same guy who recently made the cover of SLAM magazine with Wall and other players of the Kentucky team. And he's the same guy who is now being linked to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers (and keep LeBron James in Cleveland).
The Bhullars' current coach Freedman spent eight years as an assistant to Calipari. "He was my mentor, my coaching idol," Freedman says - some assume Kentucky has the inside track.
Wherever Sim and Tanveer end up, these are exciting times for basketball fans in India. Both the brothers dream of playing in the NBA.
The brothers are serious about their future - and would welcome roles as Indian basketball pioneers.
The NBA had players from 36 countries and territories this season, but none from India.
The brothers already have a following. When they visited the Golden Temple, a Sikh spiritual and cultural center, last summer, about 100 people crowded them.
"If I was able to make the NBA," Sim said, "that would be something big for India."
For a big country like India, there will be nothing bigger in basketball than these giants. Let's hope that the Bhullars are guided and coached well so that they can make a difference in college basketball in the States, and eventually fulfil the dream of every Indian fan by one day playing in the NBA. I'm going to ignore the fact that they are actually now Canadian.
Here is a video of the Bhullars sure to get more than a few fans excited...