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Harmandip Singh Ghuman

Discussion in 'Sports & Fitness' started by kds1980, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Apr 4, 2005
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    Turbaned Harman makes a statement for the community: "He's special"

    TOMS RIVER: Harmandip Ghuman is instantly recognizable yet somehow even his closest friends have trouble pronouncing his name. The Lenape Indians junior is the best Sikh basketball player in the Tournament of Champions. His friends call him Herman, with an 'e,' not an 'a.'

    "It doesn't really matter to me," Ghuman said. "Even teachers mispronounce it. I don't mind. People call me Herman."

    At a lanky 6-foot-4, Ghuman would stand out anyway. Add in his full beard and turban required by his faith that makes him an inch or two taller and Ghuman not only sticks out, he can't be missed. Ghuman color-coordinates his light-weight turban with his uniform jersey.

    "I'm able to work everything out around basketball," Ghuman said. "I've been playing basketball since fourth grade and I've never really seen anybody else wearing a turban on the court. I guess it is an honor to be one of the only ones out there."

    Lenape plays in the Olympic Conference American Division, which is known for its rugged play and fierce rivalries. There are more than a few vocal and unrelenting fan bases to play in front of, too. Ghuman, who's a quick, easy target for opposing fans, has the perfect makeup to combat the crowds.

    "Herman's always been one of my better friends so I never even thought about him being different," point guard Mike Celestin said. "A lot of times you'll hear discriminating cheers. But honestly, the games when he's hearing cheers like that, he's hitting four, five 3's. It makes him angry, gives him a little spark."

    Ghuman is a 3-point shooting specialist, who's become a defensive replacement as well. He's averaged 5.3 points in the playoffs and has 19 3-pointers on the season.

    "We trust him with the ball. At the end of the game, we know that he's either going to take the good shot or make a good decision with the ball. Herman's special."

    Just as Ghuman's turban hides the hair he doesn't cut, the forward's stoic outward demeanor hides his true personality. There's a private side to Ghuman that outsiders can only guess at.

    "Herman's hilarious," Celestin said. "When you first meet him, he's a pretty quiet kid. But when you get to know him he opens up. He keeps us all loose. He's pretty smart and has an amazing work ethic. Everybody has a big role on this team and Herman has a bigger role than most guys."

    To a man, from the first player introduced to the last guy on the bench, no one could imagine this team being where it is today without their 'Herman.' Ghuman has appreciated every minute of it.

    "It's an honor to play for a team like this," Ghuman said. "The 2004 team, as great as it was, didn't win a Tournament of Champions game. To be able to say we did something that team didn't do, that's a real honor."

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