Once seen as a potential NBA player, Chen Jianghua’s chances to remain on National Team are looking very dim at the moment. (Photo courtesy of TheFirst.cn)
Earlier today, the Chinese Basketball Association officially announced its 12-man roster for the upcoming FIBA East Asia Championship, which will be held in Nanjing, Jiangsu province from June 10-15. The East Asia Championship is the qualifying tournament for the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship, which will held from September 15-25 in Wuhan, Hunan province.
The East Asia Championship will comprise of six teams split into two preliminary round groups: China, South Kore and Hong Kong will be in Group A, and Mongolia, Japan and Chinese Tapei will be in Group B. As the host nation, China has received automatic qualification for the Asia Championship in September. The top three teams will join China in qualifying for the Championship.
With a long summer of warm-up matches ahead of them, China National Team head coach, Bob Donewald, and decision makers at the CBA decided to rest National Team regulars Wang Zhizhi, Ding Jinhui, Liu Wei, Wang Shipeng, Zhang Qingpeng, Zhou Wei and Yi Jianlian in favor of a younger, more inexperienced roster that includes several players who are on the bubble for September’s Asia Championship, including Yu Shulong, Zhang Zhaoxu and Dong Hanlin. Han Shuo and Peng Fei will make their National Team debuts.
The roster is also full of players who need to fulfill their FIBA-imposed suspensions as a result of last October’s notorious on-court brawl with a Brazilian club team in Henan. Zhu Fangyu received a three-game suspension, while Sun Yue and Zhang Bo each received one-game suspensions as a result of their actions during the bench clearing fight. Automatically qualified, China’s end result will not affect their participation in the Asia Championship, which makes this FIBA-sanctioned qualifier the perfect time for China’s star players to sit out and serve their suspensions.
Clearly, the most notable name left off the roster is Guangdong Hongyuan’s point-guard, Chen Jianghua. Chen, who exhibited so much promise when he exploded onto the global basketball after he became the subject of a New York Times piece, has suffered a series of serious injuries in recent years, the latest being a torn ACL in 2010 that caused him to miss the CBA Finals and the 2010 FIBA World Championship. With deteriorated physical skills and diminished confidence, Chen was a shell of his former self this season and may never regain the game-changing quickness that garnered him so much interest from both inside China and abroad.
With his name not on the roster for Nanjing, Chen very well could find himself among the next round of players cut from the National Team training camp roster, which currently stands at 29 players. As fans of the game, we hope this latest setback for Chen doesn’t put him back for good — in a league that generally lacks exciting individual players, we believe guys like Chen are good for Chinese basketball, which could use all of the genuine fan interest it can get.
FIBA EAST ASIA CHAMPIONSHIP ROSTER:
Yu Shulong (于澍龙), Jilin Changchun
Zhang Bo (张博), Bayi Rockets
Sun Yue (孙悦), Beijing Aoshen
Han Shuo (韩硕), Bayi Rockets*
Yi Li (易立), Jiangsu Nangang
Zhu Fangyu (朱芳雨), Guangdong Hongyuan
Peng Fei (彭飞), Shanghai Dongfang*
Dong Hanlin (董瀚麟), Guangdong Hongyuan
Meng Duo (孟铎), DongGuan New Century
Zhang Zhaoxu (张兆旭), Shanghai Dongfang
Su Wei (苏伟), Guangdong Hongyuan
Mo Ke (莫科), Bayi Rockets
*Denotes Senior National Team debut