May 17, 2019

Satnam Singh ends first Canada NBL season with a Finals appearance

Sometimes, beauty lies in unpredictability. The type of unpredictability that presents new routes in one's journey, that takes one down unexpected new avenues, that turns the strive for a destination into a different, exciting journey.

For Satnam Singh, the dream destination has always been to play in the NBA. After his 'one in a billion' long-shot to go from a small Punjabi village to an IMG Academy scholarship in the USA, and then become the first Indian to be drafted into the NBA back in 2015, he reached unimaginable highs in his life. But the draft wasn't the end of his journey: instead of playing in the NBA, Satnam spent two seasons with the G-League's Texas Legends, then returned to India to play for the national team at the UBA League, and when a new route presented itself, he took the road into an unpredictable new direction: the St. John's Edge of Canada's NBL.

And that first season in St. John's went on - to Satnam's pleasant surprise - much longer than he had intended.

The St. John's Edge - founded only in 2017 - enjoyed their most successful NBL season yet, peaking to reach the league finals where they were swept by the league's strongest team - the Moncton Magic. The Magic ended the series with a 130-120 win in St. John's to win the series 4-0.

The Edge finished the NBL regular season with a second-place finish in the Central Division, and headed into the playoffs with a 21-19 record. In the playoffs, they beat the Sudbury Five 3-2 in the Division Semi-Finals and then beat the KW Titans 4-2 in the Division Finals. The Magic, however, proved to be the far superior squad in the one-sided Finals matchup.

Satnam played bit backup minutes for the team most of the season, behind former NBA player Glen 'Big Baby' Davis and other frontcourt threats like Jared Nickens, Russell Byrd and more. He ended the season averaging just five minutes per game, in which he averaged 2.1 ppg and 1.2 rpg on 54.7 percent shooting. He played 16 total minutes in the Finals - most of them in Game 1 - and tallied seven points.

It wasn't a groundbreaking development in any way, but the move to the NBL provided the 23-year-old 7-footer with another angle with which to approach his basketball career. His story has already inspired so many in India to chase their basketball dreams - now, he continues to show that there are more ways than the NBA to find professional basketball avenues.

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