Yi Jianlian, Du Feng And The Fight For The Soul Of The Guangdong Tigers

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If you haven’t already guessed, Chinese basketball is a highly complicated, incredibly political landscape. Yet somehow, the events of the past few days in Guangdong have been especially unprecedented and will be a storyline to follow for the whole of the current CBA season.

Now, we should probably pause  to recap some stuff. Regular readers of Shark Fin Hoops will know that the Guangdong Tigers are a fading but extremely important dynasty. The Tigers’ rivalry with the Bayi Rockets defined the early years of the Chinese Basketball Association and Guangdong went on to win eight titles in thirteen years. The cornerstones of this success were the local players and although Yao Ming was the face of the national team, players like Du Feng, Yi Jianlian, Zhu Fangyu and Wang Shipeng all played on multiple Olympic teams during that time. A hugely successful core, Yi went to the NBA in 2007, Zhu almost went in 2004 and Du and Wang may well have got their shot had they played for another team in China that did not require such strict adherence to team-first basketball. Continue reading “Yi Jianlian, Du Feng And The Fight For The Soul Of The Guangdong Tigers”

Fan Ziming, China’s Newest Phenom, Will Debut In Forthcoming CBA Season

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High level Chinese prospects, like comets, don’t come around all-too-often but when they do, it makes sense to put time aside and be there for the moment. Indeed, given the widespread dominance of imports and increasing irrelevance of Chinese players in their own league, there’s currently not a lot of homegrown guys to get pumped over. This seems set to change with the looming debut of Fan Ziming.

The teenage seven-footer, who reportedly weighs in at a solid 250lbs, has been on the radar in China for several years but was only cleared to play in the CBA once he turned eighteen back in April. In the meantime, he has been gathering solid numbers at the youth level and like Zhou Qi and Wang Zhelin (who both turned pro after similar gap years dominating their school-age counterparts in 2012 and 2014 respectively), is now a source of huge interest.

Continue reading “Fan Ziming, China’s Newest Phenom, Will Debut In Forthcoming CBA Season”

China’s Best Kept Secrets? Profiling Shanghai’s Wu Guanxi and Shanxi’s Ge Zhaobao At Summer League

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Just when you thought you had seen it all, we have another Chinese guy making an NBA appearance, although only for some Summer League action. While last year He Tianju, while largely unproven by any NBA standard, was surely a top tier player by CBA standards, this year’s new additions are far more of a mystery, sometimes even by CBA standards.

Let’s find out who these two guys are then, shall we? Continue reading “China’s Best Kept Secrets? Profiling Shanghai’s Wu Guanxi and Shanxi’s Ge Zhaobao At Summer League”

Belatedly, China Is Back In The NBA– But What Happens Now?

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Not since 2007 have Chinese players heard their names called in the NBA draft. History tends to forget that two mainlanders were drafted that year (Yi Jianlian to the Bucks and Sun Yue was also selected by the Lakers in the middle of the second round). Either way, by 2011, both players were out of the NBA and since then, there has been an awkward absence of Chinese players in the world’s biggest league. That was, until last Thursday, when Wang Zhelin and Zhou Qi both were selected.

Continue reading “Belatedly, China Is Back In The NBA– But What Happens Now?”

The Forgotten Man Of Chinese Hoops: Why Wang Zhelin’s Wasted Potential Can Still Be Redeemed

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Along with the emergence of Zhou Qi, a familiar habit has occurred within Chinese basketball; namely the complete shifting of media focus from one NBA hopeful to another. Four years ago, Fujian’s Wang Zhelin was the dashing young star destined to go to America but after a disappointing season in 2016 and still no play-off appearance on his four year old resume, the beefy power forward feels like yesterday’s news.  That said, NBA teams should not discount the draft eligible big man and Marco Catanzaro is here to explain why. Continue reading “The Forgotten Man Of Chinese Hoops: Why Wang Zhelin’s Wasted Potential Can Still Be Redeemed”

Mike Harris Gears Up For Well-Deserved Title Shot

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To say Mike Harris is experienced when it comes to Chinese basketball would be a huge understatement. The American forward has been in and around the CBA since 2006, when he burst onto the scene with the Shenzhen Leopards, who were then based in Dongguan. A little while later, he was in the NBA, playing for the Houston Rockets and alongside Yao Ming himself. A couple of years after that, Harris was playing for a newly retired Yao, when the later took over his hometown Shanghai Sharks team and brought in Harris as one of the key rebuilding blocks. Continue reading “Mike Harris Gears Up For Well-Deserved Title Shot”

The Old Master Fights Back; Yi Jianlian Bests Zhou Qi In Clash Of Past Vs. Future

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A meeting of the old guard and the new generation is a once-in-a-decade experience in any sport, but for Chinese basketball, such encounters have an extra special meaning. Obsessed with seeing their countrymen in the NBA, each rising hopeful is the next chance to make that happen. But at the same time, there are also those who made it to America but never quite managed to stick around. Invariably they return to the CBA as gatekeepers, waiting for the next young mainlander to travel down the road to the NBA. Continue reading “The Old Master Fights Back; Yi Jianlian Bests Zhou Qi In Clash Of Past Vs. Future”