The good folks at FIBA Asia Cup are running a Fan Favorite Dunkers competition and Amjyot Singh Gill is through to the quarterfinals. As good a time as any to check out some of his dunking highlights over the years.
You can vote for Amjyot by going in the stories on the FIBA Asia Cup Instagram page here.
When your nickname is The Sultan of Swat, you're expected to be a paint protector, deterring opponent's drives inside, altering shots, swatting ambitious floaters in the third row. A nickname can come to define the strongest part of your game, brightening it as your other skills sometimes dim in the background of perception.
Amjyot Singh is known as The Sultan of Swat. Yes, he swats shots with a ferocity. There is another thing he does very well in basketball and especially for India. He's one of our - 'Give me the ball and get outta my way' guys.
Not that he demands isolation plays run for him as he hogs the ball. Rather, he's the kind of player whom you look to bail your offense out, the one you go to when you need a bucket, when your team needs to make something happen. Every team needs a player like that.
Amjyot does that on both ends for India. Down by 9? He'll sink a pair of 3s to swing the momentum back like he did vs Iraq this February in FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers. Need a stop? He'll chase down blocks like Betaal swooping down with relish on Vikram. He does all the little things that go into winning basketball games- drawing attention of defenses allowing our offense to breathe with space, set screens, box out, the works. All this while being the top name on opponent's scouting reports.
He's also a dunker.
Dunks are the surest way to get two points, and they can be worth more outside of the box score. Dunks can swing momentum, send crowds in a frenzy, and deflate opponents. Amjyot is far from Aaron Gordon, his dunks are more businesslike. Need a bucket? Amjyot will stuff it down to make sure. Like he did vs…we'll you'll see.
Here are a few of his slams in no particular order.
Clutch alley-oop from Vishesh Bhriguvanshi vs China
This is my favourite slam of them all, and one of the best passes we've seen from Vishesh Bhriguvanshi. With 4 minutes left in the game, India leading China 55-52 in the FIBA Asia Cup Group A contest, Vishesh served up a beauty for Amjyot to collect up high and throw down hard.
Often the pass makes the alley-oop special. Some NBA players prefer bad passes as those make for more spectacular oops with the dunker reaching to catch the ball from afar. In this case, Vishesh pulls the attention of the defense away with his dribble, before spinning back and tossing a near no-look overhead lob.
Here are 5 reasons that make this so special
Getting it done
Amjyot had two defenders nearby, but neither leaped to challenge him at the rim. When you're known for finishing strong inside, the defense won't want to risk an and-one with a ticky tack foul.
Backdoor cut to alley-oop from Vishesh Bhriguvanshi
If there are stats tracking dimes between teammates, Vishesh to Amjyot would be near or at the top of the list for India, at least when it comes to visual appeal. Here's an alley-oop from the very same game, on the very next possession! When you throw down two dunks in a row, the defense has to feel a bit existential about itself.
Never give up on a play- putback dunk on a break
Here's Amjyot not giving up on a play, As the title of the video says, this was a crucial putback dunk for India. It gave Amjyot 30 for the game and helped India defeat Palestine. Amjyot started off at the same time as #13 below, being a big he still beat the entire opposition down the court
Gill in G-League
While this is a basic two-hander on the break, it's special to us as it's from Amjyot's stint with the OKC Blue in the NBA G-League. He played in the G-League from 2017-19, following his time with the Blue with seven games with the Wisconsin Herd.
360 in a dunk contest
We've seen business-like dunks, two-handers and putbacks. Here's a 360-degree slam in a Slam Dunk contest during the 2014-15 National Basketball Championship. Hat tip to Ekalavyas for this clip and the following one.
Off the side of the backboard!
Not quite Allen Iverson to Andre Iguodala, and not quite an easy feat to do.
Gathers a low pass from Inderbir Singh Gill for the two-hander
Going up for a dunk is harder when you are picking the ball up. All the more difficult in an in-game situation in 3x3 hoops. Team Hamamatsu teammate Inderbir Singh Gill threads the needle between two defenders to serve up a bounce pass to Amjyot for the two-hander.
Gill to Gill - soars in off a dish from Bikramjit Gill
I love how no one even tries to get in the way of the flying Sikh. It's what they call a business decision, opting not to contest and risk getting on a poster.
On the break from Muin Bek
Here are a couple of dunks close to heart. The first one, on the fast break for Delhi Capitals in UBA Season 4. I was blessed to have sat alongside Paul Crane & Victor Howell calling the action, no better seat for a hoops fan in the house at Satyabhama University, Chennai. You have to see our ballers in person to fully appreciate the speed, skills and slams.
Behind the back pass from Anil Kumar
Here's a case of a pass making a dunk more spectacular. Anil Kumar Gowda gives Amjyot a perfect behind-the-back bounce pass on the break while drawing Alex Scales of Mumbai Challengers away and side-stepping a charge.
If you're blown away by these slams, you can vote for Amjyot in the FIBA Asia Cup Fan Favorite Dunkers contest by going in the stories on the FIBA Asia Cup Instagram page here. If you feel I've missed any slams from Amjyot, please feel free to share, will add the rim rockers. Amjyot has some more dunks on his Facebook page, follow him there and on Instagram for more.
While these dunks aren't free throw line leaps or between the legs 180s, one of the things that make them special for us is they are done by one of us at the highest levels of basketball internationally and often when we needed those two points the most. A dunk is worth two points, but also much more off the box score as Amjyot has shown us time and time again.