Tag Archives: Jeremy Lin

Monday Night Chuanr

April 23, 2013

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chuanr

 

Nighttime links served up proper with a hearty helping of lamb on a stick.  The beer is on you, though.

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…And we’re back

April 9, 2013

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…Sorry about that. An extended vacation in the U.S. as well as some side projects kept us from posting anything for a too long of a while. But it’s not like you really missed much, anyway: The Guangdong Southern Tigers swept through the playoffs, including a 4-0 beat down of the Shandong Gold Lions in the Finals. And a lot of Sun Yue-to-Beijing rumors. Like we said, nothing too interesting.

But to make it up to everyone, we’re posting an all-you-can-eat buffet of links, and no it’s not one of those crappy $10.99 all-you-can-eats with the luke-warm General Tso chicken and soggy spring rolls. Think more the Sunday brunch variety at The Westin (which we’ve never been to, but we hear is good).

So enjoy, and celebrate the fact that NiuBBall is on a regular schedule once again.

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Monday Morning Jianbing

January 7, 2013

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Starting your day right with China’s favorite street breakfast and a bunch of links…

  • More from said Peak: As of December, the Chinese shoe company has partnered up with the Toronto Raptors. With the deal, “Peak will be exposed to Raptors fans who will see the company’s branding all over the Air Canada Centre where home games are held. Peak’s merchandise will also be available to Canadian consumers at the Raptors Team shop at the Air Canada Centre.” That should work out nicely for the Raps’ Kyle Lowry, who endorses Peak.
  • From Beijing Cream, the story of a one-legged basketball player who plays better than a lot of two-legged basketball players. Amazing within itself, but even more so when you consider that he’s catching, rebounding and handling the ball with one hand, too. Plus, if dude is a natural righty — and he very might well be judging from the fact that he makes exactly zero shots from outside three feet during the course of the video — that means he’s doing all that with his off-hand. Very impressive.
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Monday Afternoon Tanghulu

December 3, 2012

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Sweetening up your afternoon with a stick of Beijing’s timeless sugar coated snack and some links…
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Jeremy Lin gets Linsanity trademark

June 9, 2012

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Many people on both sides of the Pacific Ocean have reveled in the phenomenon of Linsanity, but only one man will own the catch phrase’s rights, Jeremy Lin.

On May 26th, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded the phrase to Lin, whose incredible rise from an undrafted rookie to the star point guard of the New York Knicks catapulted him into a global icon. Lin filed the case in February after a man with no ties to the Lin family filed the Linsanity trademark.

“It’s not only Linsanity, but all Lin-related trademarks,” Pamela M. Deese, a partner in the law firm Arent Fox LLP who is working on the player’s behalf, said in a telephone interview. “Having a clean plate with rights in place makes it a lot easier to negotiate licenses and endorsements deals.”

Lin’s capture of Linsanity is a huge boost for the 23 year-old point guard, who has quickly become one of the most popular players in the NBA. He signed an endorsement deal with Volvo in March and there is currently a documentary in the works about his journey from an under-recruited college player to an NBA star.

Lin is currently recovering from knee surgery that ended his season prematurely on April 1.

But, Lin’s legal battles aren’t quite over yet. Lin, a restricted free-agent, is awaiting an appeal filed by the NBA players’ association to allow teams who acquired a player off waivers to retain their Early Bird Rights. Lin was picked up on December 27th by the Knicks after the Houston Rockets released him. Before that, he was let go by the Golden State Warriors in pre-season.

The decision is important for both the Knicks and Lin. If the union wins their appeal, the Knicks will be able to re-sign Lin without using their mid-level exception, which means the Knicks could go above the salary cap to extend Lin to a multi-year deal. Without being forced to use the mid-level of Lin, it would also mean that the Knicks could use the exception to sign another player — a dream scenario for a team that lacks depth.

The decision will be made by the NBA on June 13th.

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Linsanity: Coming to a theater near you

April 19, 2012

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Jeremy Lin’s magical season on the big state Madison Square Garden looks to be over, but the phenomenon of Linsanity appears to still have plenty of life on the big (and small) screen.

In March, Lafeng Entertainment announced “Awesome Basketball Kid,” a 30-episode television series about the life of Jeremy Lin that will air in China. The project is still in pre-production, so no word on exactly when it will air here in the Middle Kingdom, but thanks to some good detective work from Beijing Cream, we do know that the show “will have romantic scenes, which are important segments of the show, as the lead character will be involved in relationships with heroines,” in addition to the obvious basketball angle.

In addition to getting some dramatic made-for-television Chinese television series, Lin will also be the subject of a big screen documentary back in the United States. Here’s the story from the Los Angeles Times:

According to a person familiar with the pitch who was not authorized to talk about it publicly, the movie (no firm title yet, so let your pun-riddled imagination run wild) looks both at Lin’s unlikely run in the NBA as well at his humble background. Los Angeles-born and Palo-Alto raised, Lin shone at Harvard after being passed over by recruiters at college powerhouses, then bounced around pro basketball as an undrafted free agent before landing with the Knicks. The movie will also include elements of his Christian faith.

According to the LA Times article, Evan Jackson Leong, who assisted director Justin Lin on “The Fast and the Furious” franchise, will direct. His resume also includes a documentary about Christianity in Asia called “1040.”

Our opinion: If done right and if done on time, the documentary could definitely be a big hit. But the latter will be an issue — if this is released mid-season 2012-13, Linsanity may have already run its course and demand may be low. With no guarantees about his health or his position on the Knicks’ depth chart (assuming they re-sign him this off-season) either, its possible that he could be due for a bit of a statistical drop off. However, if they can get everything together for a summer release or even an early-to-mid fall one, Lin would still be fresh enough in people’s minds for this thing to really blow up.

Either way, there’s enough demand from the many Linsciples for the documentary for it to be successful. You can bet we’ll be keeping a key eye on this as the news keeps coming out.

In the meantime, we’re taking suggestions for a title in the comments section.

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Lin out six weeks with torn meniscus

April 1, 2012

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Though reports of Linsanity’s demise may have been pre-mature, it looks like is set for an extended hiatus. From ESPN.com:

The New York Knicks announced before the Cleveland Cavaliers game on Saturday night that starting point guard Jeremy Lin will be out approximately six weeks with a small chronic meniscal tear in his left knee, based on an MRI exam.

Lin will have arthrosopic surgery early next week in New York to repair the injury.

Another report by ESPN.com says Lin will likely be out for the season. So can we just officially call this a Liniscus tear? Sorry, that was too easy. Anyways, expect Baron Davis, Mike Bibby and Toney Douglas to split time at the point while Lin recovers.

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Tuesday Afternoon Tanghulu

March 27, 2012

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Sweetening up your afternoon with a stick of Beijing’s timeless sugar coated snack and some links…
  • Some facts in this article are wrong (at the beginning of this CBA season there were six American head coaches, not four; they missed Jay Humphries in Foshan and Joey Stiebing in Fujian), but it’s still a pretty good read on some of the challenges that present themselves to English-speaking basketball coaches in China.
  • After cursing Stephon Marbury on live television, Su Wei is not exactly a popular figure in Beijing these days. To make that clear to everyone, Beijing photoshoppers displayed the big center as a dead man; a development that didn’t sit too well with Guangdong Southern Tigers owner, Liu Hongjiang. So Liu called for an online “human flesh search” to search for the perpetrator, offering an RMB 5,000 reward for a name. The result: “Angry Hongyuan fans narrowed their search down to a few people, including this Beijinger, surnamed Fan, who barely watches basketball. ‘They found the wrong woman!‘ she said. Fan had to deal with so many foul-talking callers on Saturday that her phone battery died within a short time. Most of the calls were from Guangdong Province.” Way to stay classy, Guangdong.  (H/T on both of those to Beijing Cream)
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Jeremy Lin, welcome to your post-D’Antoni life

March 18, 2012

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Mike Woodson as the head coach in New York might mean the end of Jeremy Lin as the centerpiece of the Knicks and of Linsanity as we know it. (Photo: @art3ye)

Whoever said the month of March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb obviously never lived in Beijing (as evidenced by our two inches of snow last night), nor did they ever consider Jeremy Lin’s career as a New York Knick.

Mike D’Antoni’s resignation the Knicks head coach quickly became the headline of Trade Deadline Thursday, and while we were a little shocked given its timing and nature, we were and still are far more concerned for what it means to the world’s favorite Linsation.

What it means essentially is that March won’t be as good to Lin as February was. The simple stuff goes like this: The old D’Antoni being replaced by the new Mike Woodson means the end of Lin’s best friend, the pick-and-roll, and the beginning of a lot of Carmelo Anthony isolations on the Knicks logo inside the three-point line, and maybe an equal amount, but probably not as much of isolations on the right elbow for Amar’e Stoudemire. Anyone who watched the Hawks during the iso-Joe (Johnson) days knows that, which is why it wasn’t surprising when Woodson said that plans on making some “changes” to D’Antoni’s point-guard centered offense.

Those changes won’t put Lin on the bench right now — Woodson said #17 is still the starter — but, given the coach’s reputation in Atlanta as one prefers to get the rock to his superstars and have his veteran supporting cast fill in the rest, there is considerable speculation that Lin will eventually make way for Baron Davis. Some people think that result is practically guaranteed. The New York Post’s Frank Isola has a source who thinks that change will come in less than two weeks, while the New Times’ Howard Beck has someone who has worked with Woodson saying his “inclination would not be to play him.”

The more complicated stuff can be read in Kelly Dwyer’s great piece the Knicks’ current conundrum on Ball Don’t Lie that kindly points out that Amar’e has turned into a spot-up jump shooter, and that Davis and Lin shouldn’t turn into spot-up shooters, which is exactly what they’ll become when they dump it into either one of their superstar teammates and promptly cut to the weak side.

With Linsanity already having slowed down considerably from the full-blown five-alarm contagion that spread throughout the world throughout February, the new writing on the proverbial wall (and newspaper) caused the New York Post to officially lay the phenomenon to rest on its Friday front page.

We hope that declaration is premature, but there’s no denying that things are looking to be quite different in MSG. (Of course, more 19-7-6′s wont hurt Lin’s cause to keep playing 30+ minutes a night.) We just wonder, why things have to be different. Well actually, we do know the answer to that: Anthony and Stoudemire have four years and roughly $83 million on the rest of their deals, while Lin is on a minimum contract that expires at the end of the season.

But we can still shake our heads as to how. How can a guy who came in, won games, brought his teammates together, brought the Knicks back to relevance and created an NYC/international phenomenon, be pushed out so casually?

Oh right. It’s the New York Knicks.

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Wednesday Morning Jianbing

March 14, 2012

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Starting your day right with China’s favorite street breakfast and a bunch of links
  • As the popular saying goes, sometimes life gets in the way of blogging, which explains why we’re late on all the Shanxi-Beijing-Marbury fallout from Game 4 on Sunday. We promise we have some stuff coming up, but in the meantime go and check out Anthony Tao’s excellent coverage over at Beijing Cream here, here and here.
  • Shark Fin Hoops’ Andrew Crawford holds court with 2012 NiuBBall.com CBA Coach of the Year, Dan Panaggio.
  • Fans who wish that Jeremy Lin would cut down on his turnovers, this could be good news: Lin and Volvo are seriously discussing teaming up for future endorsements in China. Maybe associating with Volvo’s line of ultra-safe vehicles will rub off on Lin’s sometimes chaotic, turnover-inducing drives into the lane?
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Monday Morning Jianbing

March 5, 2012

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Starting your day right with China’s favorite street breakfast and a bunch of links

  • Oak Hill Academy, the high school you should know as the one who produced Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Rajon Rondo among others, is coming to China on March 7. The nine game tour will span three provinces in China’s southern region, Guangdong, Fujian and Guangxi. In case you’re wondering, the Bayi Rockets are not on their schedule.
  • As my fast-food restaurant owning friend’s wife, who knows nothing about sports or basketball, just proved without a reasonable doubt last week after her Lin Shuhao reference, Linsanity is still sweeping the China nation. But, “Marbury Madness,” which started in 2010 after Stephon Marbury moved from the NBA to the CBA, is arguably the highest it’s ever been now that Beijing is in the semi-finals.
  • Thanks at least in part to Yao Ming’s campaign to end the consumption of shark fin soup, a National People’s Congress member is proposing the central government take the dish off of all official banquets.
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Curtis Donald Interview

February 22, 2012

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In his first season as the Xinjiang Flying Tiger’s strength and conditioning coach, Curtis Donald has had the opportunity to work with a variety of different athletes, including three-time CBA MVP and former NBA player, Mengke Bateer. (Photo via NetEase)

Since the Chinese Basketball Association held its first season in 1995-96, the league has seen a steady increase in foreign players, coaches and consultants. But in recent years, the league has also seen a foreign increase in another area, one that is arguably just as important: strength and conditioning coaches.

Once a luxury reserved for only the Chinese Senior National Team, foreign professional strength and conditioning coaches have slowly been hired to work with Youth National Teams all the way down to the senior club level. This season, more than half of the CBA’s 17 teams have at least one foreigner on their strength and conditioning staff, a number that should — and probably will — increase in the future as the league continues to open its doors to foreign influence.

Because in a country that is still learning how to take better care of their athletes, the benefits of bringing in Western strength training and development are obvious. With many athletes training 10-11 months out of the year, the need to take care and improve players physically should be at a high priority. And with China’s ambitions on the international stage growing higher and higher, Chinese players need to be strong, flexible and explosive in order to stand up to the rest of the world’s elite athletes.

There’s still some way to go, but the results have already been pretty impressive. Last summer when the Chinese Olympic U-23 team played against the Duke Blue Devils in Beijing, we were impressed, but not totally shocked, to see China’s players have little if any difference in muscle tone, agility and athleticism in comparison to their American opponents.

Accordingly, more CBA teams are taking notice. As part of their off-season push to get over the championship hump that they’ve come up short in climbing the last three seasons, the Xinjiang Flying Tigers brought in the first foreign strength and conditioning coach in the history of the franchise, Curtis Donald.

Donald, who got his first gig with a professional basketball team as intern with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2009, knows a thing or two about Chinese basketball players. He worked as Yi Jianlian’s private performance specialist from the summer of 2009 until the summer of 2011, when he was hired to come to Xinjiang. During those two seasons, Donald was with Yi year-round, both while he was playing in NBA with New Jersey and Washington, and also while he was with the Chinese National Team during the summers.

And it was during those summers where Yi and Donald’s work especially paid off — forced to step into the team’s lead scoring role after Yao Ming’s retirement, Yi played the best and most complete basketball of his career at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, where he was the only player in the entire tournament to average 20+ points and 10+ rebounds, and at the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship, where he lead China to a gold medal and an automatic berth in the 2012 London Olympics.

With his first season in the CBA almost over, Donald and NiuBBall hopped on Skype for a discussion about the year in Xinjiang, what it was like working with Yi, and the state of Chinese strength and conditioning as a whole.

NiuBBall: You’re heading into the Playoffs tonight, describe your first year working in China.

Curtis Donald: It’s been challenging, just dealing with all of the changes we’ve gone through this year. And especially the injury bug that we’ve been hit by. First with Quincy [Douby] going down early and then Patty [Mills]. We had [Maierdan] go down, too. And then the changes to the coaching staff as well. So it’s been kind of a learning experience dealing with all of the issues.

NiuBBall: What were your expectations coming into this year? When you were hired for this job, what were your understandings about the Flying Tigers and their expectations?

CD: I just knew that they had a great tradition and basketball culture. They were consistently at the top of the league the last few years, so I knew expectations were going to be high. They had been to the Finals the last three years, so I knew anything less than a championship was going to be unacceptable. It was good to have those expectations. This season is only successful if you win the championship. Period. If you go undefeated and you lose in the championship, then the season didn’t matter. It was interesting to come in for my first head job and be a part of an all-or-nothing situation. It’s just very unique.

NiuBBall: The reality of that championship goal has changed because of all of the changes that have gone on within the team this year. How has that affected your own expectations as the season has progressed?

CD: It’s going to be a lot more difficult to win a title. But, having come in here with that mindset, I’m trying to maintain my belief that anything less than a championship is a failure. No matter what’s happened, I still need to treat the players and help them to the best of my ability. I came here in October to help this team win a championship. It’s February now and that hasn’t changed for me. Like I said, it’s going to be much more difficult, but it hasn’t changed how I approach my day-to-day.

NiuBBall: Take us through your responsibilities to the team. What do you do both on a day-to-day basis and on a more long-term, full season basis?

CD: My responsibilities include strength and power development, injury prevention, and if necessary, nutritional guidance. The day-to-day is all about having seamless communication between the coaching staff, players, team physician, and myself on players progress and potential issues.

Over the long term, I try to see improvement in a series of performance tests that indicate progress in areas such as lateral quickness, vertical jump, and linear speed. Improvement of these results is mostly seen in the off-season, but in-season we attempt to maintain those results. Also, throughout the season I am constantly evaluating players for movement inefficiencies or improper biomechanics.  Its important to develop and maintain proper movement patterns to keep each athletes risk of injury to a minimum.

It’s really a unique job. You train guys differently based on who they are, how much experience they have and how many minutes they’re getting. But then you’re also going on guys’ individual experience as well. Guys like Kenyon Martin, Patty and Quincy don’t do the same things as the 12th man on the bench. So it’s unique. You have a high-level NBA player to work with on one end that needs more corrective and preventative work so that he can avoid injuries, and you also have Chinese guys who fit into that category as well with Tang [Zhengdong] and [Mengke] Bateer. But then you have the  Xirelijiang’s and Meng Duo’s that you still need to develop, but they’re getting high minutes, so they’re kind of in between. Although this is a professional basketball team, the job has a lot of “college” aspect to it because you do need to develop players. The younger guys who maybe aren’t playing as much, you’re always trying to develop them. My favorite part of the job, has been the diversity between the different players goals and training experience.

NiuBBall: All of the foreign players are obviously used to the Western training methods that you’re using, but what about the Chinese guys? How have they responded?

CD: The players love it. I feel that they’re really interested in how strength and conditioning can elevate and extend their careers. They come to me after practice wanting more work, they ask questions about why they’re doing certain things. They are engaged in the whole process. They’re used to doing a lot of back squatting for example. But, I take the bar off their back and we do a lot of single leg work with a weighted vest. They’re a little confused about it at first, but then when it’s explained to them, they really respond and they start to understand that this is how you get better, this is how you stay healthy. They then start to realize that their knees feel better, or their back isn’t hurting, or whatever the case may be. Then that draws guys even closer to the system and the American way of doing strength and conditioning. To me, that I can affect their training habits and gain their trust, that’s been very gratifying.

NiuBBall: You talked already about Tang and Bateer. Both of them are former CBA MVPs and have played big roles in the National Team set-up. Now they’re late in their careers, how have they reacted to having you around the team?

CD: Let’s talk about Tang first. Luckily with him, he’s dealt with foreign strength coaches before because he’s played for the National Team in recent years. So he understood right away and he bought in right when I got here. Tang’s main issue is that he has a weight issue. It’s hard for him to manage his weight and when he gets above a certain weight his knees start to bother him significantly. When I first got here, we had Tang doing three workouts a day. Bob [Donewald Jr.] and I decided that we wanted to get his weight down as quickly as possible before all the travel started, so we had him doing pool workouts at lunchtime. While his teammates were sleeping – you know how much the Chinese players love their post-lunch nap – he was at the pool doing plyometrics and intervals with me. And he loved it. He was exhausted, but he was seeing results. He had already bought into it, and then once he started to see improvement, he really started to trust me.

With Bateer, it’s a little different. I treat him like an NBA guy. I give him a lot more freedom. He has way more experience than I do. I didn’t come in and try to dictate his routines or change the way he trains, I just gave him some ideas and approached him more casually. Like you said, he’s won MVPs and he’s been in the NBA, so he knows what he’s doing. But, he’s also stayed healthy for the most part. So what’s there for me to do? We discussed some things that we wanted to add and I give him a little bit at a time, but I kind of let him go on his own. And when he needs me, he comes to me. And I think that’s a great approach. I’m not going to force myself on a guy who’s had success.

NiuBBall: There’s a common belief amongst Chinese, especially within Chinese basketball, that Chinese bodies are genetically inferior to their Western counterparts and that’s why the Chinese are unable to develop high-level players. With your experiences, first with Yi and now with Xinjiang, do you buy into that?

CD: I do believe that they’re just not as athletic overall, but I think it comes down to how this country’s younger players have been training, both inside each club’s youth team and inside the youth national teams. You can train to be more athletic. You may not ever be able to jump out of the gym like an elite NBA athlete, but you can still improve. I think it’s an excuse. Chinese players miss a window of opportunity right after puberty to really gain athleticism, strength and power because of out-dated training methods.

NiuBBall: I think the obvious example right now is Jeremy Lin. He’s Asian, but was born and raised in the States, and now he’s starring for the New York Knicks.

CD: I think he’s a great example. He’s Asian, but if he’s not built like a Westerner, or he’s physically at a disadvantage or whatever, then why is he having so much success? It’s because he was raised in a different basketball culture and he took advantage of his opportunity when it came. So that can’t be an excuse if guys like Jeremy Lin are having the success that the is having.

NiuBBall: So is bringing over those Western training styles and teaching the Chinese how to use those methods an important step in developing athletes here?

CD: Absolutely.  There have been a number of Western strength coaches that have done a great job over here. I believe the hiring of these coaches must continue. There needs to be continuous effort to educate the Chinese in the area of strength and conditioning. There needs to be opportunities for junior team head coaches to be educated or there needs to be budgets to get some developmental strength and conditioning programs inside of teams, maybe getting a Westerner in there to run a program and teach the Chinese coaches. I think if there was an improvement on the youth level, middle school or high school level, it’d make a world of difference. It would prepare them to compete at a higher level internationally in events like the World Championship and at the Olympics. Ideally, they wouldn’t have to scramble around for the next Yao or the next Yi. They’d have a crop of guys who are just ready to step in and they’d have a lot of guys to choose from because they’ve been training the right way from an early age.

NiuBBall: How much of the things that you’re bringing to this team are being picked up by players? Whenever you’re done in Xinjiang, do you see them being able to use these things by themselves long-term? Do you think the organization will employ Western training methods down through the club?

CD: I think it just depends on the player. Guys who realize that this is how you’re supposed to take care of your body are going to continue to do it. A lot of it has to do with the culture of China. They’re very respectful to authority. So if you get a new coach who doesn’t do it this way, then they’re going to listen to their coach, no matter how different his strength and conditioning methods are from mine. So it just depends on the guy.

I don’t think I’ve been here long enough to change the culture of the team and the way the front office views strength & conditioning. But there are a number of former and current national team players that have had positive experiences with strength and conditioning that might be able to influence the front offices decision to keep western training methods around the organization. As for these methods being used down on the junior team level, it’s very unlikely until there is an obvious long-term financial benefit in developing young players that can be seen by management.

NiuBBall: You’re American, you’ve worked in America with the Clippers, but over the last two years you’ve been working exclusively within Chinese basketball. Now that you’ve had experiences with both sides, what are the major differences you’ve noticed between the U.S. and China in terms of strength and conditioning?

CD: The culture here is much different. I can only speak for basketball, but I’m sure it extends over to other sports as well. And that’s the quantity of work, the quantity of practices and the length of practice time over the quality of those practices. For example, it’s not uncommon at the youth national team even at the senior national team level to have a two-to-three hour practice in the morning and then another two-to-three hour practice in the afternoon. And some guys are on club teams where they do the same thing. So some players are doing what essentially amounts to 12 straight months of two-a-days. That’s unreal. When is there time to recover? When is there time to really get quality work?

And that brings up other issues. When you know you’re going to go through the same practice routine every day of the week for months on end, it’s human nature to find a pace that gets you through it. It’s not a pace that gets them better, they’re not going at an intense game-speed that will get them better, it’s this pace that gets just get them through the day. It’s survival, it’s “How can I survive through this day?” They know that they have a two or three hour practice in the morning and another one in the afternoon. So it creates a pace, and really a mentality, that slows development. It doesn’t develop a great athlete. They can never reach that world-class intensity because they’re just pacing themselves to get through each day.

If there’s one change that the sport culture in China needs to go through, the one that will give this country’s athletes the most benefit, I think they need to learn quality over quantity. Teach these guys to reach high intensities over shorter periods of time and then rest and recover.

NiuBBall: The prime example is of course Yao, who had to retire because of all the injuries and wear and tear that piled up on his body after playing year-round for so many years. Yi is also playing all year, how has that affected his career?

CD: I think it’s had a huge effect on Yi’s career, especially in the NBA. You have to understand: He goes through an NBA season, maybe he gets a month off after and if he does that’s a huge amount of time for a Chinese player to be resting. Then he has to report to the national team and play there. Luckily. Bob [Donewald] has been managing his minutes through all of the exhibition games that they play over the course of a summer and that’s definitely helped. But still, with the way the Chinese Basketball Association schedules the summer, it’s not uncommon for Yi to be playing nine games in 10 days. How can you expect a guy to play an NBA season, play an entire summer’s worth of games, play in a major continental or international competition depending on the year, and then go back and play in the NBA again?

Yi’s reputation is that he’s a soft basketball player. I’ve seen him play at the top of his game at the World Championship and at the Asia Championship. He’s not a soft player. But if he doesn’t find that rest, he just doesn’t have a motor. He doesn’t have any gas in the tank. He’s exhausted. And until they make some changes, they’re never going to see an All-NBA caliber player like Yao ever again.

NiuBBall: Let’s talk more about Yi. What was it like to work with him for those two years?

CD: It was a tremendous opportunity to help his career, both internationally and in the NBA. He’s a great guy to work for, he’s a true professional.

NiuBBall: What was he like as a client? What was the relationship between you two like?

CD: He was great, he reacted very well to having me with him. Yao had a foreign strength and conditioning guy when he was with the National Team and at that time, Yi was pretty young. So I think he saw the success Yao was having and I’m pretty sure that Yi thought that was the best route for him to go. Just in terms of that he’s being taken care of on the performance end, both in the NBA and when he’s with Team China, to have a guy guiding him through all the things he needs to do to get better and remain healthy.

We had full trust in each other. He had already committed to taking the advice of the people around him. It was his idea to bring someone in for himself. He thought, “I’m investing in my career, so I’d better take full advantage and listen to everything that this guy is telling me.” So right from the start, he had 100% trust in me and the entire process as a whole.

And you know, his work ethic is world class. Rarely did Yi cancel a session, unless it was something personal that he had to attend to that day. In Washington, we’d sometimes work into the wee hours of the night. Sometimes we’d meet at midnight and we’d be in the gym by ourselves, lifting and doing core work. His work ethic and commitment level were world class.

He’s a total professional. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to work for him because he opened up a lot of doors for me. If it weren’t for him and his people, and the opportunity that they gave me, I wouldn’t have been around the National Team, I wouldn’t have gotten with Donewald and I wouldn’t be here in Xinjiang right now.

NiuBBall: Curtis, thanks for the time and good luck with the rest of the season.

CD: Thanks, Jon.

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Monday Morning Jianbing

February 20, 2012

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Starting your day right with China’s favorite street breakfast and a bunch of links

  • Fans in New York — you know, because maybe, just maybe they want to watch — can now finally tune into The Lin Show after Time Warner Cable ended its blackout of MSG Network. That I can watch the Knicks in Beijing while people in NYC can’t is either a celebration of modern technology or simply just one of the dumbest things ever.
  • Jim Yardley’s new book, “Brave Dragons,” is out in bookstores and Kindles and is obviously a must buy if you frequent this site. No, we’re serious. You have to buy this book. We just finished it this morning, and like this review, we came away thoroughly impressed by his wide-ranging account of Chinese basketball. We’ve got more good stuff on the book coming later in the week, so stay tuned.
  • In what serves as a nice little preview for the upcoming CBA playoffs, our man Andrew Crawford over at Shark Fin Hoops conducts a great interview with Shanghai Sharks head coach, Dan Panaggio.
  • Chinese soccer’s “Golden Whistle,” Lu Jun, is facing some serious jail time after being convicted of match fixing. Meanwhile, Chinese basketball’s own “Golden Whistle,” Wang Zhuoping, is back in the CBA this season reffing games like nothing ever happened.
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NiuBBall Linsanity!

February 11, 2012

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By this point, which is now Day Eight of Linsanity, there’s already been quite a bit written and said about Jeremy Lin (some of which has even appeared on this very space). That won’t stop me from adding my drop in the bucket, though.

My Jeremy Lin story comes from Portsmouth, Virginia when I was covering the annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament for NBADraft.net in April 2010. The basketball was largely forgettable, but the one of the guys that stuck out was the kid from Harvard. Already aware of his considerable ability after he shredded my Boston College Eagles not once, but two years in a row, I wasn’t totally shocked to see Lin slipping by defenders on the perimeter off the dribble to finish at the basket with an array of in control gliding finishes.

But, I’d be lying if I thought he’d be dropping 38 on the Los Angeles Lakers in Madison Square Garden one day.

And yet, that’s where we’re at after the latest chapter of Jeremy Lin’s incredible story from virtually unrecruited high schooler, to undrafted NBA rookie, to the star starting point guard for the New York Knicks, was written in MSG last night after Lin torched the Lakers for 38 points and seven assists in a 92-85 win.

The Knicks, who were once in such bad shape that head coach Mike D’Antoni was counting on Baron Davis to save his job, have been been revitalized; the fan base, reinvigorated into a 1994 frenzy; and an entire nation, utterly captivated by an Asian-American Harvard grad who has been cut by three NBA teams over the last two seasons.

And no, while a nation named the United States is included in the captivation, that’s not the one I’m talking about.

In China, Lin is known by his Chinese name, Lin Shuhao (林书豪), and like the legions of Lin fans in the U.S. who are following his every move, the Chinese are getting down with Linsanity, too. The son of two Taiwanese-born parents, the American born and raised guard has considerable connections to both the PRC and Taiwan, and has stated how proud he is to be Chinese as recently as this week.

Just think about that for a second: With a 13-hour time difference between Beijing and New York, Linsanity is not only transglobal, it literally never sleeps. Which should make even the biggest of Lin supporters all the more happy knowing that the phenomenon is spreading round-the-clock.

These links should make them happy, too.

  • Viewers in China weren’t able to watch the Lin Dynasty go up against Kobe and the Lake Show this morning, but thanks to some last minute schedule juggling by the people at CCTV-5, they’ll be able to watch him play versus the Minnesota Timberwolves tomorrow.
  • Anyone who needs an explanation over Lin’s totally unpredictable rise to MSG legend hasn’t been paying attention — it’s Year of the Dragon, the most unpredictable year of them all! And as Shanghaiist points out, Lin was born as a Dragon, which means this year is his benmingnian (Chinese Zodiac year), which adds even more to the unpredictability! Now that’s exciting! Typically, one’s benmingnian has the potential to bring lots of bad luck… you know, if you believe in that kind of stuff.
  • Maybe not a little known fact, but hardly a widespread one: While the NBA was locked out, Lin practiced and played a few games with the Chinese Basketball Association’s DongGuan New Century Leopards in September (H/T JeremyLin.net for photos). You can check out video here.
  • Not China per se, but this quote is priceless from an Asian-American woman at a Lin viewing party in New York: “All the Asian-American guys want to be Jeremy Lin. And all the Asian-American girls want to marry him.”
  • Like us, Anthony Tao over at Heart of Beijing was watching this morning’s Wolves-Mavs game and noticed that down the stretch the two in-studio commentators basically stopped doing their jobs to probably watch the fourth quarter of the Knicks-Lakers game. Like we said, Linsanity is alive and well in China.
  • It should be the last thing on anyone’s mind right now — but if Lin’s NBA career doesn’t pan out (for the record, we really hope it does), some people think he would be a superstar in the Chinese Basketball Association.
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Guan Weijia: One on one with Jeremy Lin

February 9, 2012

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This article was oringally posted on Sheridan Hoops

Jeremy Lin put on another show Wednesday night, logging his third consecutive 20-plus point game as the New York Knicks defeated the Washington Wizards 107-93.

In Beijing, a certain SheridanHoops.com columnist was back at work following an extended break for Chinese New Year, wondering whether his e-mail pal could pull off another one of the types of performances that had fans at Madison Square Garden chanting “M-V-P” two nights ago.

Lin certainly did, with 23 points, 10 assists and four rebounds.

Lin had a Q and A with this rejuvenated Beijing-based reporter, which is posted below.

SH: When you heard all rapturous chants of “Je-re-my” and “M-V-P”, what were you feeling?

Lin: It was an unbelievable experience and I’m just thankful to God for the opportunity to play at Madison Square Garden and thankful to the fans for their support.

SH: You have such a great performances the last two games. How do you comment on that, and how did your coach and teammates comment on that?

Lin: The team was really happy in general because we really needed the win, and it was a total team effort. We played really hard, especially defensively and we’re glad to get the wins.

SH: A lot of reporters said that your performance was kind of like American Dream comes true. Do you agree with that?

Lin: Yeah, I think it is fair to say that.

SH: Before the game against New Jersey Nets, you had rarely been in the regular rotation. When do you know you would be an important role in that game? How’s your feeling? Nervous or excited?

Lin: I was unsure if I was going to play and how much I would play, but I’m just glad I was able to get comfortable out on the court.

SH: CBS reporter Ken Berger said “Finally the Knicks found the right PG to do the right things”, so what are the right things in your mind?

Lin: The right thing is to attack the defense and take whatever they give us.

SH: During the practices, you play a lot of pick and roll with big guys. Which one do you think you have a good communication with? Amare or Tyson?

Lin:”Both. I’m slowly developing a chemistry with both of them.

SH: What do you think of the Knicks offensive system? Do you think you are a right piece of that?

Lin: The Knicks offense is suitable for me because there’s a lot of pick and rolls and a lot of space.

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