I recently had a chance to talk to Amritpal Pal Dhaliwal, #21, a 6'5" 205 pound Junior whose playing forward for Laguna Creek High school in the City of Elk Grove. He goes by Pal at school. Pal is a strong forward who lights up the hard wood both ways. He comes strong towards the basket when on offense, grabbing a rebound, or slapping away the ball on defense. He's an intriguing player who has grown up in the greater Sacramento area with a passion for the game.
Pal has played varsity prep basketball since his freshman year and has come into his own at Laguna Creek. He's a respectful young man on and off the court, yet his style of play brings two words to mind "No Fear". I say this because I've watched players that will go up for two or three, yet will not transition back into defense. Some players will not step in front of an offensive player and plant their feet for the offensive charging call. Well Pal's basketball IQ is high. He's built to take a hit and not afraid.
Here's what this young man had to say to me during a short interview.
1.) Which school's are calling you and/or visited your high school?
UCLA scout Frank Lucas, Stanford asst coach, Saint Marys (CA) asst coach David Patrick, UC Davis, Sacramento St, and UOP. ( have all shown interest)
2.) Any Scholarship offers?
No offers yet.
3.) Any visits scheduled (official or unofficial) to colleges?
I have visited UOP and checked out a lot of their games this season because I know some players on the team already, and UC Davis.
4.) Which Schools are your favorites? Why? Have you narrowed your choices?
Stanford. , Saint Marys, UOP, California, San Diego. I like the way each school plays, and I would like to attend a good educational institution as well
5.) Do you prefer being close to home?
I would prefer to stay on the West Coast, although we will see how each situation is.
6.) GPA and SAT scores
I currently have a 3.6 cumulative GPA. I will take my SAT in May.
7.) What are you looking for in a college?
I am looking for a good coaching/player relationship, a good academic institution, and a school where I can develop to be the best athlete I can and mature as person.
9.) Do you pattern your game after any NBA or College player?
I try to pattern my game to Eric Gordon, and the way he is able to shoot it deep and stretch the defense out, or attack the rim, and Carmelo Anthony, and he inside-out game.
10.) What does "For the Love of the Game" mean to you?
I love playing basketball, and couldn't imagine my life without basketball. Whether I am playing basketball for my HS team, my AAU team, or at the local gym, I try to bring the same passion and intensity because I feel basketball should be played and respected the right way. I feel free and happy when I dribble a basketball and it feels apart of me when I play. I believe I have a very strong work ethic because I constantly stay focused on basketball and trying to reach my full potential and hopefully playing at the next level.
Watching Pal play brings to mind a higher purpose that prep sports brings into a community. It also reminds me of a young man I interviewed on a football field a few years ago. His name was Curtis Dao (Hiram Johnson High School). He said quite eloquently"...the love of the game... the diversity on the field... we have every race playing... It's a lesson for life .. That we can all come together for a common goal... on the playing field everything is even between schools – bring what you got" Those words speak volumes and is reflected in almost all prep sports.
Jarad Carter, Pal's trainer, had this to say about Pal:
"Natural talent can get you far, but only with Dedication can get you ahead of the pack. Pal Dhaliwal exhibits both and does it with the presence and persona of a team 1st leader with impact level talent for the next level."
Pal is averaging around 14 points per game, 7.8reb, 2.5 assists, 2.0 steals; this includes an average of 2.0 3PT field goals a game.
The following ten schools are on Dhaliwal's radar:
Pal playing basketball, and so competitively, makes him a role model for so many kids of varied backgrounds. As Curtis Dao laid down those words for the Grid Iron, Pal has transposed them onto the hardwood. He's an inspiration for us all.
I'll visit with Pal again and follow up after the regular season.