Jason Wise / Kings.com
Kings Q&A: Sim Bhullar
Get to know more about Sacramento’s 7-foot-5 Summer League invitee.
How would you describe your roots and decision to attend New Mexico State?
“I was born in Toronto. My parents are from India – they came over [to Canada] about 30 years ago. I was originally supposed to go to Xavier [but instead] went to New Mexico State, where I knew the assistant there, Paul Weir. We had a good relationship – he’s from Toronto. He brought me out there and I had fun – I had a good two years there.”
How heavily recruited were you in high school?
“I think I had like 40 or 50 colleges looking at me. At the end of the day, I wanted to make a choice that was going to make me happy. I wanted to go to a smaller school where there wasn’t as much lime-light and flashing cameras.”
How well do you know fellow Canadian and Kings rookie Nik Stauskas?
“We’ve known each other for a while. We’re cool. He’s one guy on the team I can relate to. It’s a lot easier than coming onto a team and not really knowing anybody. So it has made the transition a lot easier."
Like Nik, are you a big fan of Canadian singer Justin Bieber?
“Not as much as him. (Justin is) from Toronto, so you have to like everybody from Toronto. I guess you could say I’m a fan, but just not as big as [Nik]. I heard that he listens to him pregame – he’s in love with that guy. I don’t even have him on my iPod, but I’m a fan because he’s from Toronto.”
How would you characterize being 7-foot-5 and often having to duck through doorways?
“I’m used to it – you have to go through it every day of your life, so I guess being small would be something different for me. I’m used to being tall.”
Are your family members tall as well?
“My dad is 6-foot-3 and my mom’s 5-foot-11. My grandparents are pretty tall though, and my great-grandparents. (My brother is) 7-foot-2 or 7-foot-3 – he’s actually [in Vegas] right now. He and my mom are out here, and then my sister is coming out a little later on.”
What does it mean to you to have their support?
“It’s pretty cool. I think there are a lot of Indians out here, too. I saw a lot of Indians at the last game we had. The support's crazy from everybody – just Twitter, Facebook, text messages, phone calls or whatever it is. Everyone’s out here supporting you and everyone wants to see you happy. [They] want to see you succeed and see you play. It’s definitely a good feeling having that kind of support.”
What were your overall thoughts on Mini-Camp?
“It was cool, it was fun and I enjoyed it. It was kind of tough though – the two-a-days get to you after a while. I thought I pushed through it well and thought I did a good job.”
How would you describe the mindset you’ve taken into your training?
“Some things I definitely want to work on would be getting my body right and losing weight so I can be a better overall player.”
Have you set any additional goals?
“Just to show the coaches that I belong – show the coaches I can roll with the game and (compete) with the other bigs."
What kind of feedback have you received from the Kings coaching staff during Summer League?
“They’ve told me I played pretty well. I had some good minutes, I did a lot of good stuff, and hopefully I get another chance to play.”
What has it been like to play for Sacramento’s newest assistant coach, Tyrone Corbin?
“He’s a great coach. It’s fun having him around.”
Have you met Kings Chairman and Majority Owner Vivek Ranadivé?
“I have. When I was at my workout in Sacramento, he flew out there just to meet with me, so we talked for about an hour. He was at our first game, too. I was in the layup line and he snuck up behind me and shook my hand – I was surprised he would do something like that. It’s definitely cool having the owner do that to you. We seem to have a good relationship so far, and hopefully we get to continue it.”
What was it like playing in your first NBA Summer League game?
“I was a little nervous checking in, especially with the crowd and having everyone want to see you play. The ovation I received when I got into the game was crazy, too. I guess nerves kind of went away after the first few seconds. It was fun.”
How much did you enjoy getting your first official block in that game?
“That’s the big thing I did in college. I think I was like fourth or third in the country in blocked shots. It’s another thing I like doing – blocking shots and protecting the rim and making it hard for guys to finish around the rim.”
Do you have any gameday rituals?
“I don’t really have a ritual. I guess you could say taking a shower is a ritual, just to wake yourself up. During college, I always ate pasta [before a game]. I played well in college, so I’ve tried doing it [in Las Vegas] too.”
In your experience so far, how fast is the NBA game?
“It’s pretty fast compared to college. From the very first practice we had, I was talking to DeMarcus [Cousins] and MarShon Brooks. I was telling them how fast it is out here. Everybody said I would get used to it after a while. It was the same way for them at first, but you just get used to the pace of the game.”
At what age did you know you wanted to play basketball and try to make a profession out of it?
“I was probably 13 or 14 when I started taking it seriously. I was about 6-foot-7, 6-foot-6 at that age, and I thought I would have a future in it so I just kept working at it. Once I got to my sophomore year in high school, I decided to [move] to the U.S. for school at Huntington Prep just to get (more experience) and exposure.”
To what would you attribute the rise in Canadian basketball players making it to Summer League and the NBA?
“It’s probably from watching Vince Carter. [Most Canadians in the league right now] were younger when Vince Carter was in his prime with the Raptors, so I guess we grew up watching him play. He kind of influenced a lot of us to play basketball. If it wasn’t for the Raptors and Vince Carter, I don’t even think a lot of us would be playing basketball – we’d probably be doing something else."
What current NBA players do you follow?
“I don’t really follow anyone all that closely, but it would be cool to play against Vince Carter or get a chance to meet him. Another player would be LeBron (James) or Kevin Durant – those big name players – just to be on the same court would be a great experience.”
How would you characterize playing alongside DeMarcus?
“It was cool. He was pushing me a lot. He was telling me some things to do to make me better. When I was tired in those scrimmages, he was always (encouraging) me to keep pushing. It’s been good having him around. To be able to go against a real NBA center has been good for me.”
How would you describe the time you’ve spent in Sacramento?
“It’s a big city, it’s a nice city and I really enjoyed my couple of days I was there. I would definitely like playing in Sacramento – being in that market without a whole lot of distractions.”
What would it mean to you to become the first player of Indian descent to play in the NBA?
“It would be big – not just for me, but for the whole country and my community back home. To have the first Indian in the NBA and be one in one billion at this level would be crazy.”