May 9, 2013

Indian-Origin players to have played NCAA D1 Basketball


No Indian national has yet had the experience of playing basketball at the highest collegiate level in the world, the NCAA Division 1 in the United States. But that said, there is no shortage of our larger Indian diaspora - specifically Indians who grew up in North America - who have represented at that level in some shape or form. The world paid attention as Canadian-Indian Sim Bhullar had his breakthrough playing in the national-tournament for New Mexico State and went on to become the first Indian-descent player in the NBA. It's time we compile a list of all others before Bhullar who have played a little (or a lot) D1 ball in the past, or our still playing at that level in the present.

This post grew out of popular demand, demand to showcase that players with desi genes certainly have the potential to take the next higher step in hoops. I've been able to collect the names of the list through past research and experience and the aid of some very helpful readers. I thank Rahul Desai for the idea and for getting me started and Sunpreet Sher Singh for suggesting more names to add to the list.

I'm looking to add the names of all Indian-origin D1 basketball players to the list. Being slightly tanned, enjoying the occasional Tandoori Chicken, and having a man-crush on Aziz Ansari doesn't count; You gotta have some desi in your DNA. First generation, second generation, third generation, born in India or abroad, full India, half Indian, one-fourth Indian, whatever. Hopefully, a talented player from India will one day get the opportunity to represent the country at this highest college level, too.

The list isn't perfect and it definitely isn't complete. Please contact me to notify me of any errors and suggest any further names that I'm sure to have missed.

Indian-origin players to have played NCAA Division 1 Basketball (In last-name Alphabetic order)
  • Pasha Bains (Clemson, Wyoming): 1998-2001
  • David Bagga (Arizona): 2005-09
  • Vishal Banipal (Idaho State): 2011-12
  • Sim Bhullar (New Mexico State): 2012-14)
  • Tanveer Bhullar (New Mexico State) 2013-
  • James Blackmon Jr. (Indiana): 2014-
  • Anikar Chhabra (Harvard): 1991-95
  • Manroop Clair (Hawaii, Seattle): 2012-
  • Sandeep Dhaliwal (Columbia): 2009-10
  • Samer Dhillon (USC): 2013-
  • Shaminder Gill (Washington State University): 2001-05
  • Tony Gill (Pacific): 2012-
  • Robin James (Rutgers): 1991-95
  • Venkatesha Jois (Eastern Washington University): 2012-
  • Sanjay Lumpkin (Northwestern): 2012-
  • Arjun Ohri (New Jersey Institute of Technology - NJIT): 2009-12
  • Timir Patel (Houston-Baptist): 2007-08
  • Varun Ram (Maryland): 2012-
  • Andy Saharan (University of California-Riverside): 2010-11
  • Manny Sahota (Cornell): 2010-
  • Sam Singh (Bradley University): 2004-10
  • Dipanjot Singh (Univeristy of Illinois at Chicago): 2009-11
  • Veer Singh (Seton Hall): 2015-
  • Sai Tummala (Arizona State, Hawaii): 2013-
To learn more about some of these players, check out my in-depth feature and interview with Pasha Bains, considered by many to be the greatest Indian-origin player ever. Youngster Manroop Clair is also mentioned in that story. I've written a lot about Sim Bhullar and his brother Tanveer; here is my most recent feature recapping Sim's first season at New Mexico State. Here is an old Q-and-A with Timir Patel, and this is an even older post and video of Manny Sahota. I also spoke to Maryland's Varun Ram for this blog last year. 

26 comments:

  1. Have BFI & Coach Flemming thought about convincing some of these guys to suit up for the NT?

    Looks like most of them, considering when they played college ball (or are still playing, have an appropiate age to boost the NT program.

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    1. unfortunately, Indian rules say that anyone who wants to play for India must have Indian nationality. And since India doesn't allow dual passport, they would have to give up their American/Canadian nationality. Its a tough call for most of them to do that

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  2. This may be a duplicate comment...lost connection while posting it...
    Do other countries have a similar rule about Nationality? If not what can be done to change the rule so that India can compete equally with other countries?

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    1. No, not every country has a similar rule about nationality, but many do (especially in Asia I think).

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  3. Varun Ram at UMD. http://www.umterps.com/sports/m-baskbl/mtt/varun_ram_826680.html

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    1. Cool - I've added him to the list!

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  4. great article and hopefully can become a comprehensive database to create network connections to find the next generation of athletes and be able to introduce them to others that have come before and who can help connect them to the right people

    great job Karan and Hoopistani!

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  5. Pal Dhaliwal - Univ of SF 2010-2012

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  6. Dude,
    There are a few girls of indian origin that have played D1 - Harleeen Sidhu. There are also a few more that are playing in Canadian universities.

    http://www.huskers.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=1312820

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    Replies
    1. Ya, I've left off girls and universities in Canada or other countries for now. Will probably venture on that another time.

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  7. Venky Jois had an outstanding game last night in the NCAA Tournament vs. Georgetown, including this highlight putback dunk. https://vine.co/v/OY7b1BrnHr2

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  8. Which Rahul Desai are you thanking for the idea?

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. hey, really sorry, but I'm no expert on D1 football... limited to hoops over here

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  10. Can you add josh Sharma. He's a commit to Stanford and a top espn recruit

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    1. will add him when the next season begins - thanks!

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  12. My Rutgers teammate Robin James was the first to play intercollegiate basketball! I see of course he's already on your list. He was a remarkable player coming out of high school. Also, Sanjay Lumpkin is my cousin 😀

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  13. Veer Singh is Indian origin basketball player feshman at Seton Hall university and was highly recruited by D1 programs. His parents immigrated to US from India.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the reminder, I've added Veer!

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  14. How about Bik Gill at Ball State?

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  15. Bhavna Chadalavada, Female recruited to play at Columbia. 2009-2013

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  16. Youth Basketball online training videos from experienced coaches how to coach youth basketball

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