Sports

Former U-Hi athlete would like NBA job

Inderbir Gill has a pretty lofty dream.

Gill wants to be the first Spokane high school graduate to be in the NBA since Adam Morrison.

The 2005 University High School graduate wants to represent the NBA in India.

Since earning a business degree at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George last year, Gill has contacted the NBA and a sneaker company, among others, hoping to convince them that he would be a good point person to present basketball in his native land.

“I want to grow the game in India,” he said. “They love basketball; it’s a great game. It needs more exposure in India. I would love to do that.”

But that’s not his only goal.

“Obviously, I want to play basketball first,” he said. “I’m hoping to play overseas.”

That goal may not be a stretch at all. The 6-foot point guard was named the Canadian Collegiate Athlete of the Year in 2010 and the national Player of the Year, the culmination of a long road.

The Gills left Hoshiarpur, Punjab, India, in 1998, when Inderbir, the youngest of three children, was 11, for educational reasons. They settled in California and he began playing soccer.

But the outsider couldn’t practice the game alone so he picked up a basketball.

“I was never the kid to play video games or sit around and watch TV; I needed things to do on my own,” he said. “I could go into the gym, work on my game. That’s what attracted me to basketball.”

Gill was 14 when the family moved to Spokane Valley to be with other Indian Sikhs they knew and basketball helped his transition.

“In high school I got accepted because of playing basketball,” he said. “When you’re on a team you are popular. It helped me get acclimated to the culture.”

Gill loved his Titans experience, twice earning honorable mention All-Greater Spokane League, but he’s still haunted by coming up one game short of state when he was a senior.

His success came despite the fact he was riding a city bus to school because the family had moved to the North Side after buying a minimart and his father, who didn’t adjust to the states, returned to India.

Marty Jessett, the U-Hi coach at the time, was convinced Gill could keep playing and he landed at Everett Community College, following former teammate Cassidy Laurich.

“The style at Everett – they’re known for up-tempo, shoot a lot of 3s – was perfect for me,” Gill said. “It was a good experience. I definitely had a lot of fun.”

Gill averaged 16.7 points, 7.5 assists, 6 rebounds and 4 steals his second season, which drew a little interest from four year schools but not enough.

“I thought I need to take a year off to hone my skills,” he said.

UNBC was recruiting an Everett teammate, whose classes wouldn’t transfer, so he recommended Gill. He loved the idea because in Canada he would get to play three more years.

“The basketball is comparable to the Division III level,” he said. “There are some really bad teams but when we played at nationals I think it is comparable to D-III. I had a great amount of success because we had a successful team.”

He was captain his second season on the team that won the 2010 Canadian National Championship behind his MVP performance. That earned him the national honor.

Now he’s back home, helping his mom at the minimart – his oldest sister is an electrical engineer in Seattle, the other is a doctor in Portland – and hoping to put his passion for basketball to good use.

“My mom was alone when I was in Prince George,” Gill said. “She wants me to keep my basketball dreams alive. She’s been pretty sad I haven’t got a chance to go overseas.”

You can reach Dave Trimmer at davetrimmer1@gmail.com



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