The visit of the Guangsha Lions is next on the calendar for the Sharks and with it comes the appearance of two of the CBA’s premier overseas players. Indeed, regardless of who wins, Sunday’s game at the Yuanshen will be well worth the price of admission for the star power alone. Guangsha’s most formidable player is without a shadow of a doubt PJ Ramos, the towering 7’4 center from Puerto Rico. Ramos, now into his third season with the Lions is widely seen as one of the most difficult men to stop in Chinese basketball so keeping him under control will be one of Shanghai’s top priorities.
Last season, Beijing famously called up part-time player (and full-time star of Rush Hour 3), Sun Mingming, who at 7′”9 and 360 lbs is one of the few athletes walking the earth that are more physically powerful than Ramos in a bid to contain him. It didn’t work as Ramos demonstrated a decent mid-range shot and simply stood four yards away from Sun and shot the ball over his head repeatedly.
Zhang Zhaoxu, who at 7″3 will be the most likely match-up for Ramos, won the battle the last time the two met and although he has not been enjoying a good run of form in recent games, Zhang’s height means he will have a key role in Sunday’s game.
The other danger man for Guangsha is Al Thornton, who four years ago made the NBA All-Rookie team but after buying out his contract with Washington in 2011 has drifted from contract to contract. However, in China, he is a very dangerous prospect and will command respect- partly for his fantastic Superfly facial hair but also for the fact that he is averaging 26.4/10.3/3.2 a game.
Basically, the fancy stuff stops with those two. Highly rated teenage point guard Wang Zurui could be a big-time Chinese player in a few years and Jin Lipeng is good for the odd three from the corner but if Thornton and Ramos can be kept quiet, the Sharks should have enough to win this one.