Related News

Home » Sports » Basketball

Nets stars discover pool of hoop talent in China

NEW Jersey Nets Devin Harris and Brook Lopez glimpsed the seven-foot future of Chinese basketball and saw enough to be convinced the talent pool that produced Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian has by no means dried up.

With 2.13m Yi as a teammate and 2.23m Houston Rockets center Yao as a regular opponent, both were aware that China has tall players but they were also impressed by the skill displayed by the 48 teenagers at a training camp in Beijing.

"There's loads of talented kids out here," center Lopez said.

"A lot of them are raw but you just look at the way some of them play, the eagerness and just the size on some of them, they kind of make me feel small," added the All-NBA Rookie, a towering 2.13m himself.

"When they get going on five-on-five games you can see that some of these guys will definitely be great players down the road. I can definitely see some of them playing professionally."

All-Star point guard Harris said he could see a difference in style but also plenty of evidence of the influence of the NBA, which is hugely popular in China.

"I've seen some big guys finishing strong, I've seen some point guys making good plays," he said. "They've obviously watched a lot of NBA basketball, you can kind of see it in their character and their swagger."

"In the US it's a bit more athletic whereas over here they focus a lot more on the skill setting, the shooting and the fundamentals," he added.

NBA tickets

To date, Chinese players have mostly won their NBA tickets on the back of their height, a fact not lost on Harris, a modest 1.9m tall but with mesmerizing ball skills.

"Height really isn't everything, it helps in certain situations, but skill setting, learning how to use your strengths and learning how to stay away from your weaknesses, is a lot more useful than height," he said.

"You definitely want height on your team but you also want skill settings as well."

Another criticism of Chinese players, from Yao as much as anyone, is that the Chinese game does not prepare them for the sheer physicality of the NBA or the international game.

"It took me a while to get used to the physicality of the NBA and I think a camp like this will definitely help towards that," said Lopez.

"Going against players just as strong as you, if not stronger, is going to help you become much more physical and tougher."

Former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Paul Silas admired the discipline of the teenagers but thought they needed to learn how to enjoy their individual skills more.

"The players are very different here and you don't have so much of that discipline in the States," he said.

"But here I think you have too much of a team concept and they don't look to go out on their own so much. It's a fine balance that you must have."

Zhang Junxiang, already 1.95m at the age of 15, was clearly delighted.

"I think the camp is really a lot of fun," he said. "How we are trained here is different. We are so excited to see foreign coaches."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend