With the G League Ignite's season on the brink of a premature ending, Princepal Singh finally earned some minutes on the floor against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Friday.
The Indian youngster has been struggling to get playing time for Ignite so far, featuring in just three out of 14 games. Over his three appearances, he has played for 21 minutes, with nine minutes of those coming on Thursday in Ignite's 107-130 defeat to the Vipers. This latest defeat elbowed the team down to ninth spot with only a game against Austin Spurs left. The top eight teams in the standings will make it to the G League Playoffs.
In contrast to Princepal, Ignite's other Draft eligible elite prospects have racked up significant game time: Jalen Green (averaging 32.1 mins), Daishen Nix (averaging 25.8 mins), Isaiah Todd (averaging 23.9 mins) have played in each of the team's 14 games, while Jonathan Kuminga (averaging 32.8 mins) missed just one game " the clash with the Vipers " due to an injury.
In his post-game media availability, Ignite coach Brian Shaw pointed out that Princepal was given nine minutes on the court on Thursday since the team's numbers were down " the team were missing Kuminga, Jessie Govan (both injured), Donta Hall (who joined the Toronto Raptors), and Kai Sotto (who chose to play for his national team, Philippines).
"It's hard for me to judge his nine minutes in today's game. As you have seen throughout this season, this is not a league for big men. This is a guards' league," Shaw told Firstpost. "Most of the teams we have here have at least four guys on the floor between 6'3" and 6'6". The biggest guy on the floor a lot of the times is 6'7". Maybe 6'8". They're all fast. They can all shoot from the outside. They can all handle the ball. That's not something that Prince is accustomed to facing. So it was hard to put him into a lot of the games, because you want to try and put him in into the game in a position where he can succeed. With our numbers being down, he got a little bit of time today. He'll get some more time on Saturday. Hopefully, it'll be a good experience and he will understand what he's going to need to work on to get better if it's in his intention to try and make it to the next level."
In his 9.35 minutes on Thursday, the 20-year-old had one defensive rebound, and a steal, while turning over the ball twice. He has scored five points in his three appearances, all coming against the Salt Lake City Stars last month.
Even as his time on the floor has been restricted, Princepal has been impressing his teammates and coaches with his work ethic.
"I'm a big fan of Princepal's work ethic," said Brandon Ashley, who plays for Ignite. "He's one of the hardest working guys here. He takes every opportunity to get the extra work in."
Ashley was speaking after Ignite's 111-116 defeat to Agua Caliente Clippers on Wednesday where Princepal was on the bench for the entirety of the game.
Coach Shaw pointed out that Princepal had also been unlucky a couple of times such as in the game against Delaware Blue Coats on Monday, where the Indian player was in line to get some minutes, but was laid low due to an upset stomach.
"Unfortunately, in the two games that he was out with illness, he had a chance to play a little bit more since they were both big blowout games," he said on Monday.
"Prince's attitude has been great. He comes to practice and works hard every day. He doesn't complain about not being able to play," said Shaw on Thursday before adding, "His development has been different from the other guys because theirs is coming in the game, while his is happening in practice sessions against our guys¦ you know, getting adjusted to the speed of the game, the physicality of the game."