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DongGuan splashes into the foreign and domestic market

Post by Leon Zhang 

September 7, 2012

Chinese Basketball Association (CBA)

Marcus Haislip will play his third season in the Chinese Basketball Association with DongGuan New Century.

As the season looms closer and closer, elite CBA teams vying for a top place have gotten more and more aggressive with their acquisitions. Not content to watch Beijing and Xinjiang add impressive reinforcements, the Dongguan New Century Leopards have added 6’10’’ power forward, Marcus Haislip, and promising 22 year-old guard, Yu Shulong, to head coach Brian Goorjian’s rapidly emerging core.

Haislip, a University of Tennessee product, is a familiar face in the CBA. Last season for Foshan, he averaged 21 points and seven rebounds after coming in mid-season to replace Gerald Green. More importantly for a DongGuan team with the explicit goal of landing in the top four, Haislip also has valuable playoff experience. In 2010-11, he shot an incredible 77.7% rate from behind the arc to clinch a title for Guangdong Hongyuan. The former NBA lottery pick will be called upon for his postseason experience and post presence on a team that placed fifth last season before falling to Xinjiang in the quarterfinals in five games. His all-around ability should fit in well with Goorjian’s defensive schemes.

The 6’1’’ Yu is a highly regarded guard. He burst onto the CBA scene in 2009-10, averaging 11.7 points in his debut for the Jilin Northeast Tigers. Known for his speed and shooting, Yu played bit roles in the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship and 2010 FIBA World Championship as a backup while he continued to remain as a centerpiece on the Jilin team, normally logging over 35 minutes a game as a starter.

This past season, however, the diminutive guard found himself on the short end of the CBA’s Asian import rule. Expected to continue his large role within the team, Yu instead found himself backing up Jordanian star Osama Daghlas and averaging a career low 15.6 minutes per game. Deeply resentful of his diminished playing time, Yu went so far as to say this week that he would rather go back to school then play another season for Jilin. DongGuan had been linked with a move for Yu since the beginning of the off-season.

Now finally free of Jilin’s much-maligned practice of playing one guard at a time, Yu will finally have an opportunity to continue his development. His temporary transfer is an exciting move for Dongguan. Known for his long-term vision in developing players, Goorjian adds a significant piece to the team’s future while immediately bolstering a patchy guard rotation. All this, of course, is contingent on Jilin, which seems intent on keeping Yu in the long-term. Yu will continue to represent Jilin in the National Games next year, but this move for the club is questionable at best. Playing time for a National Team-caliber guard, an extremely young one with huge upside no less, should not be this hard to find. The fact that Yu felt alienated is a clear indictment against Jilin’s management and coaching. Dongguan has done well to capitalize on this shortsightedness to add a tremendous player.

The Leopards continue to look for help, and a potential backcourt partner for Yu has surfaced in Wang Dingjie, or James Wang, as he’s known stateside at Williams College. The Taiwanese native averaged 17.3 points on 56% shooting as he led the NCAA Division III squad to a 30-2 record. A strong player with nice offensive skills, Wang’s most troubling weakness is his height: he measures out at 6 feet, a tad small for a shooting guard. Dongguan has treated his four days in China as a sort of a scouting test, and will make a decision based on their evaluations.

These signings deviate little from Dongguan’s practices in the past: develop talented young players and integrate skilled foreign players within Goorjian’s plan. With Guangdong, Haislip showed willingness to defer to teammates and get his own shots within the flow of the offense, and will be commit to the offensive and defensive plans at Dongguan. Yu and Wang are guards with great upside that the team hopes will develop into a formidable starting backcourt.

Dongguan continues to kick off preparations for the new season today with a tournament in Shenzhen.

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