Meet N.M. St.’s 7’5″ Sim Bhulla
by Chris Chase, USA TODAY Sports
Though his NCAA tournament didn’t last long, 7-foot-5, 355-pound Sim Bhullar made a giant impact on the college basketball world.
If you flipped on New Mexico State’s 64-44 loss to St. Louis on Thursday afternoon, it was impossible not to notice the enormous 20-year-old freshman. He was six inches taller than anyone on a court that included three players a shade under seven feet. He doesn’t rebound as much as he devours. When he gets in the post, which was a rarity on Thursday, he’s able to back down opponents with a nudge.
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Like all young big men, he’s a work in progress. It showed on Thursday. Neither Bhullar, nor his any of his teammates, played well. New Mexico State shot 28% from the floor and were never close to the fourth-seeded Billikens. But don’t let one poor performance define Bhullar’s improving game.
He won MVP at the WAC tournament (averaging 12.3 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3 blocks) and has seen his level of play increase as he builds on-court stamina.
“He’s not just big — he’s good and big,” Saint Louis coach Jim Crews said on Wednesday. “That’s a real compliment to him because we saw some tape earlier in the year and how he has progressed has been really enjoyable to watch from a coaching standpoint.”
It’s a big change from where he was in the offseason. As Jeff Eisenberg writes on The Dagger, Bhullar weighed nearly 400 pounds and was frequently out of breath during offseason pick-up games. He made an effort to lose weight before this season and lost 40 pounds by eating well and working out harder.
With his help in the WAC tourney, New Mexico State advanced to the NCAAs and Bhullar became one of the biggest players ever to play in the tournament.
It won’t be the last you hear of Sim Bhullar, or his last name. He has a younger brother playing high school ball in Canada. Tanveer Bhullar is a junior at Huntington Prep in West Virginia. He’s the the runt of the family, standing a mere 7-foot-3.