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Marbury’s new extension shows his commitment to basketball’s development in China

October 18, 2013

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Stephon Marbury will keep playing in the CBA for at laest another three years.

The recent announcement of Stephon Marbury’s three-year contract with the Beijing Ducks, which came prior to the team’s exhibition game against Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid, really came as no surprise to anyone who has followed the league over the last four years. It has been the New York native’s ambition to finish his career in China.

In fact, if anyone has followed Marbury’s career since he joined the capital team in the 2011-12 season this is a just a sign of not only his commitment to the Ducks, but also a very strong commitment to the development of the game in China.

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Sichuan Blue Whales win promotion to CBA, round out new foreign lineup

October 7, 2013

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The CBA’s newest expansion team, the Sichuan Whales, will enter their inagural season with three foreign players, Hamed Haddadi, Herve Lamizana and Johnny Flynn, as well as a foreign head coach, J.T. Prada.

Southwestern China has been starving for some top level basketball for a long time. They won’t have to wait any longer.

Last month, the CBA officially announced the promotion of the Sichuan Jinqiang Blue Whales to the Chinese Basketball Association, and will become the 18th team in the league.

The decision, which was officially announced on September 29th, ends what had been a long-time rumored end-result to the league’s expansion plans. Dating as far back as summer 2012, the CBA had been evaluation expansion plans with the idea of promoting a team from the second-tier professional league, the National Basketball League. For various reasons, those plans were put on hold and the once-in-a-few year opportunity for teams to rise up to the top professional level was carried over to 2013. Even then, it wouldn’t be until several months after the conclusion of the NBL season for a final decision to be announced.

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Zhejiang fills out import roster, signs Jerel McNeal

October 4, 2013

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Jerel McNeal, who two seasons in the D-League in between two 10-days in the NBA and various stints in Europe, will play with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls this season.

The Zhejiang Chouzhou Golden Bulls have completed their foreign import signings for the upcoming 2013/14 CBA season by signing former Utah Jazz guard Jerel McNeal.

The deal comes on the heels of the team signing power forward Ivan Johnson earlier in September.

McNeal is remembered for his time at Marquette University where he was named the Big East’s Defensive Player of the Year during the 2006/07 college basketball season. He was also to the Big East’s All-First Team and the Associated Press’ All-American second team in the 2008/09 season.

The Chicago, Illinois native went undrafted in the 2009 NBA Draft and spent that time trying out for various teams such as the Los Angeles Clippers, the Sacramento Kings and the Chicago Bulls. He would then bounce between teams in the NBA Developmental League and Europe, playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Bakersfield Jam, Dexia Mons-Hainaut in Belgium and Sutor Basket Montegranaro in Italy.

McNeal would finally get his shot in the NBA with the New Orleans Hornets in 2011, signing a 10-day contract. He then went on to sign with the Utah Jazz in March 2013.

He was waived by the Western Conference side on September 25, 2013.

The 26-year-old guard is a scorer as he averaged 20.6 points a game during his time with the Vipers in the NBA D-League, and should be a good replacement for former Golden Bull Quincy Douby. However, fans of the team should not count on seeing another 75-point game in the upcoming season, which is the all-time single game record Douby set last season.

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Ivan Johnson returns to China, signs with Zhejiang Chouzhou

September 22, 2013

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After spending the last two seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Ivan Johnson is returning to the CBA with the Zhejiang Chouzhou Golden Bulls.

The Zhejiang Chouzhou Golden Bulls have signed power forward Ivan Johnson to one of their two foreign import spots for the upcoming 2013-14 Chinese Basketball Association season.

The 29-year-old makes his return to the Chinese league after a short stint with the Qingdao Doublestar Eagles in 2011. After playing six games for the Eagles, Johnson signed a contract with the National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Hawks. Afterwards, he spent two seasons with the Southeast Division side. The highlight of his time with the Hawks was being named as the NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for April, having averaged 10.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.45 steals.

The much-traveled Texas native has played in the NBA D-League, Puerto Rico and South Korea.

While Johnson is a highly-skilled player who will add much needed power to the Bulls front court this season, he is also prone to disciplinary problems that could hurt the team should they make a run in the playoffs.

Johnson received a lifetime ban and was fined close to $4,500 by the Korean Basketball League for raising his middle finger at a referee after his Jeonju KCC Egis team lost to Ulsan Mobis Phoebis in the final game of the championship series in April 2010. In April 2012, the Hawks was sent home and fined an unspecified amount of money for what the team called conduct detrimental to the team. A month later the NBA fined him $25,000 for giving the finger to a Boston Celtics fan after the Hawks’ elimination from the playoffs.

If Johnson can keep his attitude in check and provide the Bulls with good play on the offensive and defensive ends of the court, they could make a strong run in the playoffs.

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Yi Puts Return To NBA On Hold After Signing 2-Year Deal With Guangdong

September 21, 2013

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Yi Jianlian, who was rumored to be looking at return to the NBA, will stay in China for at least the next two seasons.

Guangdong Southern Tigers forward, Yi Jianlian, has signed a two-year contract extension with the reigning Chinese Basketball Association champions, according to a statement by the team on Friday.

The new deal will put any plans the 26-year-old has on returning to the National Basketball Association on hold.

Coming off a 2012-2013 CBA season in which former sixth overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft averaged 24.6 points and 10.5 rebounds en route to earning MVP honors in the regular season, the finals and the All-Star Game, it was predicted that he would have attempted to make a move back to the United States ahead of the 2013-2014 NBA season.  Now, that has been put on hold as Yi looks to help the Southern Tigers become the most decorated team in the CBA’s history as they seek to win a record-breaking ninth title.

The Tigers currently hold eight CBA titles, which ties them with the Bayi Rockets.

There were no specifics of deal mentioned, but the team said there is no NBA opt-out clause.

The 6-11 center/forward had an up-and-down summer as the Chinese men’s national team failed to defend their title at the FIBA Asia Basketball Championship, finishing in fifth place. However, he guided the Guangdong provincial team to the gold medal at the recently concluded 12th China National Games in Liaoning Province.

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In Need Of Help For Playoff Push, San Antonio Spurs Sign Tracy McGrady

April 18, 2013

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8SLPM3A50ACR0005The San Antonio Spurs are hurting as they prepare for the NBA Playoffs which start on April 20, so they’ve decided to sign a player whose hurt them in the past: Tracy McGrady.

As announced yesterday, the 15-year NBA veteran, who played this season in the Chinese Basketball Association with the Qingdao Eagles, has signed a deal for the rest of the season, including the soon-approaching post-season.

Though the move is surprising given its timing, it does have some logic. It is no surprise that coach Gregg Popovich often rest his top players from time to time and Monday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors was a given as he looks to give them much needed rest before starting what they hope to be a deep playoff run.

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Is There a Second Chance at NBA Stardom for Yi Jianlian?

April 9, 2013

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A week has passed since the Guangdong Southern Tigers captured their eighth Chinese Basketball Association title with a 4-0 series win over the upstart Shandong Gold Lions to place themselves alongside the Bayi Rockets with the most titles in the CBA’s short history.

After a stunning loss to the Beijing Ducks in the 2011/12 CBA Finals, the Tigers made sure that their next trip would assure them of victory. And one of the reasons behind this season’s success was because of Yi Jianlian.

Following another unsuccessful stint in the National Basketball Association with the Dallas Mavericks, the former sixth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft made a return to the CBA and picked up where left off the last time he was in the league. After averaging 24.6 points and 10.5 rebounds over the season, it can be said that the seven-footer provided a great impact to his team’s pursuit in regaining the CBA crown.

With the season now over and respective provincial and regional teams preparing for the upcoming National Games in Liaoning province as well as the country’s various national teams gearing up for their summer schedules, one question that will consume many basketball enthusiasts’ minds in the coming months is whether Yi’s performance this season could secure him a contract with an NBA team next season.

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After fan attack on referee, Zhejiang women banned from playing in home city for one year

January 31, 2013

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At NiuBBall, we don’t often comment on the problems with the officiating inside of Chinese basketball. Actually on second thought, yeah we do.

However, this may be the first time where we have commented on fans seeking to physically assault an officiating crew after a game.

This article should focus on the big showdown between star foreign imports Maya Moore and Elizabeth Cambage as their respective Shanxi Flame and Zhejiang Golden Bull teams took on one another in Game 1 of the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association Finals Tuesday night.

However, the real action came after the final buzzer.

In what turned out to be two great individual performances by the US and Australian stars (Moore scored 53 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while Cambage scored 38) and an eventual 96-92 victory by Shanxi that put them one game up in the series, once again it was the officiating that was put in the spotlight in the newspapers and sports channels around the country.

Believing that the referees were showing favoritism towards Moore and her Flame teammates throughout the game (apparently Zhejiang was assessed with one too many foul calls), a group of fans thought it would be a good idea to storm the court after the game to let them know their feelings on the matter. But instead of simply voicing their displeasure, these fans let their fists do the talking as the three officials narrowly escaped to the dressing room. The situation was so intense that the angry mob had to be held back by security on hand at the arena.

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Refereeing errors add to Qingdao’s woes and more frustration for McGrady

January 12, 2013

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The 2012-2013 Chinese Basketball Association season has not been a kind one to the Qingdao Double Star Eagles. After much hype and exceedingly high expectations after the signing of superstar Tracy McGrady, the last place Eagles are probably looking for this season to end as quickly as possible. With only two wins this season, the only thing the team is playing for now is pride.

Coming into last Wednesday night’s road encounter with seven-time champions, the Bayi Rockets, the Eagles were looking to snap a three-game losing streak to bring the team a much-needed confidence boost.

As in some of the Eagles games this season, they were behind but remained within a shot of pulling out a win. And late in the fourth quarter, down by three points, they had every chance of grinding out their third win of what has been a very long season for them.

However, it was not the players or their performances that the media focused on after the game. Instead, it was the officiating that was put in the spotlight.

The question of CBA referees making poor calls during close games is not a new subject as in previous seasons many have questioned their judgment. Most have even gone as far as to say that the calls are corrupt. However, there has never been any hard evidence to show that there are so-called “black whistles” within the league.

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Could China’s Back-To-Basket Centers Thrive In Today’s NBA?

December 4, 2012

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How well would would Wang Zhelin’s predominantly back-to-the-basket game translate in the NBA? (Photo: Osports)

NiuBBall has a new scribe. World, meet Kenya Brown. Currently based in Beijing, Kenya has spent 11 years in China, half of which has been spent in Baoding, Hebei province. With a bachelor’s degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Kent in England, Kenya is now a news editor with China Central Television News Content. He also contributes articles on sports-related issues involving China on the China Sports Review blog and covers soccer news for US-based Yanks Abroad website.

Kenya’s biggest basketball moment, playing-wise, was when he scored the game-winning basket for his junior varsity team in Germany back in 1991 in front of hostile crowd of 25 people. As he is usually busy with work, Kenya has yet to see a live CBA game. However, he considers seeing Guangdong Southern Tigers assistant coach Jason Dixon walking along Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong with his family as his biggest CBA moment so far.

For his opening piece, Kenya discusses China’s young generation of back-to-the-basket centers and wonders how well their games could translate in today’s NBA.

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