Having spoken with Coach Panaggio earlier, its now time for Shanghai’s overseas power forward DJ White. In a brief interview, the former Charlotte Hornet talks about settling into the city, his ambitions for himself and the Sharks and his impressions of new Chinese sensation, Wang Zhelin.
Andrew Crawford: How do you think are you adapting to China as a country?
DJ White: I think adapting well. I found some restaurants that I like, found some western grocery stores and learnt a little Chinese just to get me by.
AC: What are the biggest differences between the NBA and the CBA?
DW: The pace of the game [is different]. Also, in the NBA, there’s better players across the board- although that’s not to say the CBA doesn’t have talent. So it’s a little different in that aspect because night in and night out, you’ve got Lebron James and guys like that to worry about.
AC: Having been a sixth, seventh, eight man in an NBA roster, how has it been coming to the Sharks, getting to be the man and play starters minutes?
DW: It’s been pretty good. I haven’t been in that position really since college. It took some adjusting to- you’ve got to have a different mindset going into games every night but I think I’ve adjusted well so far. There’s some things I’ve got to do better at and I will do better but it’s been good.
AC: Do you think be a long-term player in China or will you wait and see?
DW: Yeah, we’ll see how it goes at the end of the year but I’ve been enjoying my experiences in China so far.
AC: What teams and players have caught your eye since the season started?
DW: Guangdong [Tigers] obviously have a lot of guys on the national team so I’ve been impressed with those guys. I’ve been impressed with Liu Wei too. I would have loved to see him in his younger days but he still has it right now. There’s been some other guys and other teams but those are the two stand-outs for me.
AC: You were guarding Wang Zhelin when the Sharks played the Fujian Sturgeons. He’s obviously Chinese basketball’s next big hope- what were your impressions of him?
DW: Wang’s pretty good. He’s young and obviously at that age you have a lot of things to work on but you can see the talent is there so I wish the best for him.
AC:Looking forward, what are your ambitions for yourself but also the Sharks?
DW: For me, I’m looking at this as a learning opportunity. Who knows what’s ahead of me- whether I’m back in the NBA, back in the CBA or somewhere else, so I’m going to use this as a learning experience and continue to get better. As for the team, we want to make the playoffs. We’ve started off 3-9* but we have the chance to do better and hopefully we can do that.
AC: You have Marbury in Beijing and Tracy McGrady in Qingdao, do you think you’ll continue to see more well-known but ageing names from the NBA come to China to reinvigorate their careers?
DW: I think it’ll continue. Whether it’s a superstar or any player whose career is winding down, you want to keep playing. This [the CBA] allows you to do that and work on your skills and you never know- those guys might be back in NBA at the end of the [CBA] season, helping teams in the playoffs.
AC: Thanks for your time, DJ
DW: No problem.
*- this interview took place before the game against Foshan on Dec 21st.
Photo: Shanghai Daily