The skyline around the New Mexico State campus has recently added two new peaks to compliment the Organ Mountain Range in the background. Sophomore Sim Bhullar, 7-foot-5, and his younger brother, Tanveer, 7-foot-2 freshman, make up what's believed to be tallest brother tandem in college basketball history. While Tanveer sits as a redshirt this season, Sim had already distinction beyond his height as the Western Athletic Conference's Freshman of the Year award in 2013.
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Coaches and teammates say the Bhullars draw the most attention when traveling. "[Sim] has probably taken more pictures with people than some bigtime celebrities," says NMSU head basketball coach Marvin Menzies. "They way they handle it is very admirable. They're never rude. They're never short with people." No pun intended.
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Without the budget for chartered flights, the NMSU travel department makes booking exit row seating?with its extra legroom?a top priority for Tanveer (shown) and Sim.
4 of 8John W. McDonough/SI
The Aggies are OK with Sim feasting on a steady of passes to the paint but are more wary about his appetite for traditional Indian dishes like his mom's butter chicken. NMSU's strength and conditioning coach Trei Steward along with Las Cruces dietician Lola Cunico have limited Sim's diet to 2,900 calories daily.
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While the Aggies have missed Sim's 9.8 points per game since being sidelined with a bruised right foot since Dec. 29, it's his defensive prowess (53 blocks this season) that have dropped the Aggies from holding opponents to a WAC-best 41% defensive field goal percentage to a sixth-best 45%.
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Tanveer, an undeclared major, scored a perfect 4.0 grade point average in his first semester at NMSU. During this English class presentation, he gave a three-minute speech about the pitfalls of student grade retention.
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NMSU strength and conditioning coach Trei Steward (background) has to devise alternate workout routines to accommodate the Bhullar brothers since they don't fit onto traditional weight benches or strength training machines.
8 of 8John W. McDonough/SI
Injuries are a central concern for the Bhullars, whose extreme height means extreme stress on their joints, bones and muscles. Steward prefers Tanveer (shown) and Sim run on soft surfaces, like the grass hill behind the football stadium.
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