Tag Archives: Jiangsu Nangang

Antoine Wright Interview

February 21, 2011

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After, living in China for over two and a half years, we’re used to unpredictable randomness.  So when we found out that our next interview, Antoine Wright, was staying right across the hall from a just interviewed James Singleton in the team hotel in Nanjing, we were a little surprised, but not totally shocked.  It was just yet another reason to expect the unexpected in the Middle Kingdom.

Already happy that we wouldn’t have to schlep across the city in the rain to go out and meet Antoine, we were even happier when he allowed us to sit down and interview him immediately after introducing ourselves.

As old NiuBBall readers know already, Wright’s been a big hit in Jiangsu.  Coming into the team midseason after several former NBA veterans and China had enough of each other, including Ricky Davis in Jiangsu, the 6-7 guard/forward came into the league and immediately went to work, and his team reeled off five wins in his first five games after getting off to a shaky start to the season.

Battling a big, nagging injury to their big center, Tang Zhengdong, however, the Dragons have slid a bit in the standings recently. And with Tang likely to miss the remainder of the season with the troublesome right knee that has gotten worse and worse as the season has advanced, a team that was already thin up front suddenly lacks a big body to go alongside the team’s other import player, Jerome Moiso.

Shorthanded, Wright and Jiangsu have still been finding ways to win games.  Winners of three of their last four, Jiangsu has a one game lead over Zhejiang Guangsha for fourth place with nine games to go in the regular season.

We were able to talk to Antoine about his time so far in Nanjing, living without central heating in Southern China, and a lot more in our conversation on Friday.

NiuBBall: It looks like you guys just lost your big man in the middle, Tang Zhengdong, for a while, maybe for the rest of the season.  How is that going to affect the rest of the season going forward?

Antoine Wright: Well, he’s a big part of our offense.  We run a lot of plays for him and just his presence alone makes other teams need to scout for him and prepare for him, so with him being out, it’s going to fall on some of the other guys.  They’re going to have to pick it up.  Some of the guys who haven’t been getting minutes are going to be thrown in there and they have to give us something, because we don’t have a lot of size otherwise.

NiuBBall: I asked [former Dallas Mavericks teammate] James [Singleton] the same thing, although your situation differs from his because you came into the league mid-season and he came before the season in October, so you might have a different answer.  You joined Jiangsu to replace another NBA veteran who had some problems adjusting to this country and this league, and I think upon arrival you were able to fit in with the team and help them win games.  Why do you think that adjustment was made so smoothly?

AW: It’s a business, and this being my first overseas experience, I wanted it to go well.  So I took it seriously.  We didn’t really have much time for me to practice with the team or really figure out the plays, but I’m a smart basketball player. I know how to play the game.  This is my sixth year as a professional, so a lot of times its just about professionalism and approaching the game with the right attitude and trying to play the game the right way and not underestimating the guys your playing with.  [The local players] have been around this league for a while, so they pretty much know what to expect, and you just try to feed of those guys’ energy and the way they play so you can try to find your way through the maze.

NiuBBall: This being your first time playing overseas, were you nervous at all about coming to a new country with a totally different culture and language?

AW: I wasn’t nervous about the game, but about the lifestyle and the distance and the change in expectations.  I didn’t really know what to expect from the actual competition standpoint.  But, I’m confident in what I can do as a basketball player.  Most of my nervousness came from the off-court things, off-court issues, but not from the game itself.  I was more anxious to play and see what it was like, as opposed to being nervous about the competition level.

NiuBBall: What were some of your initial expectations when you got to China about the competition level?  Did you have some thoughts based on things you’d heard about the league from before?  Had you even heard anything about the league before?

AW: To be honest with you, I hadn’t heard much.  I really hadn’t.  The only person I had really gotten some feedback from was Patrick O’Bryant.  And that’s when he was leaving [China], when I talked to him he was in Vegas and he had just left [Fujian SBS].  He and I were training together and I was surprised to see him back, so I asked him about his experience and why he was back and all that stuff.  He really didn’t give me much, but the information that I had gotten from him wasn’t how I expected my experience to go.  I thought, with Patrick and myself being in different stages in our careers and our lives, I approached coming out here differently.  So, I didn’t really get much from him about coming out here.

NiuBBall: Living in China, what are some of the biggest day-to-day lifestyle adjustments you’ve had to make after living in the States for your whole life?

AW: It’s pretty structured around here.  Lunch is the same time every day, dinner is the same time every day, breakfast… it’s just a different culture.  So you have to make those adjustments on the fly.  For me, the biggest adjustments are lifestyle.  The travel, being in cold gyms, the officiating, the different rules, not being able to start, having to come off the bench sometimes, playing two quarters some games, three quarters other games… All of those things have been major adjustments.  But, I’m competitive.  I see those things, if anything, as a handicap, really.  They’re things you have to play through.  For me, it’s been a challenge.  Those things are a challenge every game, because you never know what’s going to happen.  You never know if the gym is going to be heated, you never know what the refs are going to be like and if you’re going to get in foul trouble, you never know if you’re going to start or come off the bench, so you just have to adjust.

NiuBBall: I wanted to ask you about that, about the cold here in Nanjing.  I know you’ve played in cold areas like New Jersey and Toronto, so you know what cold is.  But, I’m not sure everyone out West knows what it’s like over here.  Try to explain to people what it’s like to be cold here and what it’s like to be cold out in Canada or the States.

AW: Cold at home is when you’re outside [laughing].  That to me is the difference.  When you’re outside.  When you’re cold here, it’s everywhere.  The hotel’s cold, the gym’s cold, the bus is cold, the plane’s cold, bus to the plane is cold, everything is cold.  It’s not a situation where you can run and be out of it, like “Hey, it’s warm here.”  It’s just a different level.  Canada is cold and at times we would play in the arena and they had just taken the ice up so it would still be kind of cold in there, but once the game gets going and once the fans get in there, it warms up pretty quickly.  It’s just an adjustment, man.  It’s hard.  Right now I’m dealing with a swollen thumb and sometimes it’s tough to get in a rhythm, catch the ball and do those things just because of the temperature in the gym.  It’s just completely different, man.  It’s nothing like I anticipated.  It’s something you have to try and play through each game because I’ve never played in gyms as cold as the ones out here.  And it’s every night.  Some gyms I’ll think, “Oh, its a little warmer here,” but it’s still cold!  So it’s just a major adjustment.  It’s been rough, it’s been really rough.  Especially playing on the road.  During shoot-arounds, you might as well be outside most of the time.  I mean, it’s difficult, but once you get over it and just kind of understand that this is something you’re going to have to live with and that it’s not going to change, you just kind of got to fight through it and just remember what you’re here for.  Just try to get it done.

NiuBBall: In a cold gym, is it harder to warm up and get loose? Is that something you have to adjust your game for?

AW: They give us enough time to warm up and to shoot before the game.  But, it’s not something that you can warm up to I don’t think.  It’s just something you have to deal with.  Some nights, you have to adjust your game.  You can’t shoot a lot of jump shots just because it’s not falling for whatever reason.  It might not be the mechanics, it might not be all that stuff.  It might just be nature taking its course.  You got to start taking it to the basket or make other things happen.  So, that’s the adjustment I’ve learned.  When I first got here, I was shooting the ball really well and then I ran into some situations where the gym wasn’t as accommodating and I didn’t have a great shooting night or whatever.  But, in those times you just got be a basketball player.  You got to adjust your game, get to the basket, get to the free-throw line and try to find another rhythm of the game.

NiuBBall: Now that you’ve been here for part of a season, if there was a lockout next season and a NBA guy came up to you said “Hey, I’m thinking about playing in China,” what would you say to him?  Would you recommend him to come out here?  Is there any advice you’d give him?

AW: I would tell him it’s a good opportunity to play in a good league.  I would say it’s completely different than the NBA, so don’t expect to be like that.  I wouldn’t have anything really negative to say.  I would just say be prepared to make some pretty drastic adjustments as far as your lifestyle to what you’re used to.  But, as far as basketball, it’s all business.  When you come here, expect to be thrust into a position where a team is counting on you to produce.  And if you don’t produce, you know what the outcome will be.

NiuBBall: Are you trying to get back to the NBA?

AW: Absolutely.  I’m here because I’m not in the NBA.  I signed with a team this summer, and I was expecting to fulfill that commitment for the year and then make plans after that.  I wasn’t expecting to be here.  My number one goal is to be playing in the NBA again and to take my career to another level hopefully.

NiuBBall: In the event of a lockout, would you consider returning to China or possibly going somewhere else overseas?

AW: I think we’d all have to.  Like I said, I think it’s a business.  Sometimes it throws you curveballs and you just kinda gotta roll with them.  I don’t think there’d be many players opposed to playing overseas with a lockout, and China’s an option.  It’s definitely a feasible option for guys to consider with the amount of money that’s being given here and the competition level.  Guys are coming out here and its raising the level and it’s something that would have to be considered once those other things are ruled out.

NiuBBall: What’s the food been like for you?

AW: Man, the food’s been really different.  I’ve tried the Chinese food and I pick and choose to try to sort through it and see the things that I like, the things I can recognize and the things that I don’t like.  For the most part, that’s how it’s been for me.  I try to eat some of it.  I’ve always liked rice; I’ve always eaten a lot of rice.  I’ll eat rice for the most part.  Sometimes I’ll find something that I like and I try different things.  Other times, you just got to order McDonalds [laughing].  You gotta get some McDonalds or some KFC, man.  Because, those are your options [for American food] out here, that’s what you got to live with.  The team has tried their hardest to make it better for me eating wise.  They get me steaks, they get me pasta.  Here [at the hotel Jiangsu was staying at that day], we’re fortunate enough to get steak and pasta, but it’s been an adjustment eating wise.  I’ve lost a lot of weight.  I’ve lost about eight or nine pounds since I’ve been here.  It’s something that if I was better prepared for, I would have made some adjustments.  I would have brought some things from home.  But, that’s something that the guys who have been here all year have already adjust to.  Me, learning on the fly, it’s something I haven’t really been able to get in a rhythm with.  I’ve just been doing my best with it.

NiuBBall: Nanjing is not like Shanghai, Beijing or Guangzhou, there’s not as much Western culture here.  So what have you been doing to pass the time?  What’s your day-to-day routine like?  Do you hang out with [teammate] Jerome [Moiso]?

AW: You know, not that much.  Jerome’s kind of quiet and he’s more of an adventurer than I am.  He’ll go out, walk around, go to find things… I’m not really like that.  I stay in my room for the most part.  I talk on Skype, on the phone, I watch movies, internet.  That’s pretty much what I’m doing, that’s pretty much how my life has been since I’ve been here.  I haven’t really been exploring as much.  Over the [Spring Festival break] I did get to get out a little, I went to Macao and I had a cool time over the break.  But, for the most part, my life consists of hanging out in the room.  It’s pretty boring, but what can you do?

NiuBBall: Just another one of those adjustments you were talking about before, huh?

AW: Yeah, you just kinda gotta roll with it.  My family’s been really good, I call home a lot.  I’m on Skype a lot.

NiuBBall: Picked up any Mandarin?

AW:  You know, I’ve learned some words and then forgot them.  Every now and again I’ll ask somebody how to say something and that’ll be my word for the day.  But, I haven’t really picked up any.  From what I’ve heard, Stephon Marbury is learning it pretty good.

NiuBBall: Yeah, I just posted up a video of him speaking Chinese on the site.  As a foreigner who has learned the language and can speak it OK, his pronunciation is pretty good, it’s gotten a lot better.

AW: Oh, yeah?

NiuBBall: He studies and everything, he seems pretty into it.  He’s picking it up.

AW: Yeah, that’s what I heard.  He’s been over here longer than me, he’s been over here for a couple of years right?  Who knows?  Maybe if I come back next year, I’ll look into it a little bit.  It’s not something I’m trying to get down right now, though.

NiuBBall: Antoine, thanks again for the conversation and good luck with the rest of the season.

AW: Thanks.

Follow NiuBBall on Twitter @NiuBBall, or on Sina Weibo @NiuBBall.

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Antoine Wright: Saving Jiangsu’s season and the reputation of NBA players

January 11, 2011

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Though no fault of Antoine Wright, former NBA players kind of have a bad rap in the Chinese Basketball Association right now.  Giddy over increased ticket and merchandise revenue from Stephon Marbuy’s half-season with Shanxi last year, the CBA moved to eliminate the long standing import player cap that limited how much money teams could spend on foreign players per month.  With unlimited amounts of money to throw at players, owners looking to cash in Shanxi-style on an ex-NBA star went out en mass to sign a record number of instantly recognizable former NBA players.

At pre-season, a three handed man couldn’t count all of the new players on his fingers.  Ricky Davis, Steve Francis, Fred Jones and Mike James were the elder Logo-representing statesmen who were enticed by higher salaries and easier competition. Younger guys came, too — Javaris Crittenton, Patrick O’Bryant, Josh Boone, and Dwyane Jones — as well as James Singleton, an established League player who decided on playing in Western China over signing an offered contract from the Washington Wizards.

Before the start of the CBA season, there was a buzz around the league that hadn’t existed before.  People were genuinely excited to see “The Year of the NBA.”  And who could really blame them?  For the 99.999999% of China’s 400 million or so basketball crazed fans who will never get the chance to see a real NBA game, this was going to be their best chance to watch NBA players live at their hometown team’s arena.

But, as the players started first to trickle, then totally spill out of the league, NBA players in the CBA gained a newer, very different reputation: entitled, privileged, spoiled, out of shape and washed up.  In the eyes of Chinese fans, these guys didn’t come here for the basketball, they came here to cash an easy check based on their name alone.  They came here — to China — because they thought it’d be a joke.  But, to the owners who write those big checks, the general managers who build the teams and the coaches whose jobs are on the line when imports don’t work out, there was nothing funny about their investments flaming out in less than a month.

Things have gotten so bad in fact that people are throwing out the words “salary cap” and “draft camp” as a possible deterrents to teams who want to try this NBA thing all over again next season.  Thanks to a group of shaky ex-import players, if you’ve had a decent career in the NBA, you’re probably not welcome this year and possibly the next couple of years.

Just three games into his new stint as a Jiangsu Dragon, however, six-year NBA pro Antoine Wright appears to be changing some of the newly formed perceptions, not only his by his stellar play (32 ppg, and 7 rpg, all wins), but also by his humbleness, work ethic and seriousness towards playing in China.

From an article on Sina Sports, titled “Jiangsu’s Saviour Has Really Come!”

Antoine Wright and Fujian’s [Andre] Emmett both fell hard to the floor, the end result of a huge collision between the two.  As Wright sat on the floor with his arms extended with everyone in the building thinking that he was looking for the referee, his fingers instead locked hands with Fujian’s dolphin mascot, who was standing on the sidelines.  The mascot helped Wright up off the floor, where Wright and the dolphin gave each other a big bear hug as an end to the ceremony.

Whatever you do, don’t underestimate January 7th as a potential turning point for Jiansu’s season, a date that saw Jiangsu’s new import Antoine Wright prove his calm, reason and rationality.  At that point during the third quarter when Emmett put him on his butt…  Other foreign players definitely would have yelled back at the refs, but Wright didn’t and his calm and relaxed demeanor allowed his team to play the same.

In a season that’s been anything but for Jiangsu, “calm” is a welcome adjective.  Before the season, a large portion of the team held out of most of training camp over unpaid bonuses from last year and disagreements over this season’s payment structure.  Two weeks ago, it appeared as if the wheels were quickly coming right off.  Sitting on a disappointing 4-4 record with the highly hoped for Ricky Davis unhappy, underperforming and on the way out, the team’s other import, Jerome Moiso, struggling to pick up the slack and key domestic player, Yi Li, injured and on the sidelines, it seemed as if the Dragons once promising season was coming to a premature end.

And then came Wright, a former lottery pick who had been playing serious minutes for a 50-win Dallas Mavericks team in 2008-09.  Yet, contrary to what you may believe, it wasn’t easy for Wright to get a job here.  Things are so bad for NBA players that before joining Jiangsu early last week, he was actually being discriminated against by multiple teams simply because he was coming over from the NBA.

Yes, that’s right: NBA guys have such a terrible reputation in China right now that teams are separating themselves entirely from anybody who has played recently in the League, regardless of the team’s need and the player’s ability and makeup.  Teams didn’t want him strictly because he had the perceived stink of the Association all over his basketball resume.

Yet, judging from the “season savior” moniker he’s earned after just a few games, those other teams are probably kicking themselves for passing Wright up, who is already in the conversation for the league’s top foreign player.  In his first game, Wright lit it up in a win against three-time defending champs Guangdong for 38 points on 8-11 from three, only to follow that up with 33 and 9 while limiting Fujian SBS’s Emmett, known mostly in China as the guy who dropped 71 points last year — against Jiangsu, nonetheless — to a ho-hum 25 point tally in another win.

In this article published by Net Ease Sports, its obvious that the team still had Emmett fresh in their mind and generally feels ecstatic about the arrival of their new star import:

[Jiangsu] won the game and limited [Emmett], so last night Jiangu was one very happy team. “Mr. 71 Points is like floating clouds.  We have [Antoine] Wright!”  yelled somebody on the bus after the game as the entire team erupted into laughter.

(浮云 fu yun translates as “floating clouds” and has several uses as a metaphor in Chinese language.  In this case , it means that like a floating cloud, Emmett’s 71 points have been wisped away and are in the past.)

“…Wright’s a smart player, he’s always taking what the defense is giving him.  And I think he’s a player who is extremely conscious of the team concept.  Obviously, his beautiful three-point shot was something we didn’t know he had.  But, we can see that his three-point shot is very consistent,” said [head coach] Xu Qiang.

As for Wright’s defense, Xu Qiang was extremely satisfied: “He’s got a great body and really knows where to be on defense. Plus, his arms are real long so he can cover a lot of space defensively.  Trying to shoot a three in his face is pretty much impossible.

The players are sold on him too:

He’s the glue of our team.  He’s not just an all-around player, he’s a guy who can straighten out our team’s continuity issues.  Obviously, him feeding me the ball also makes me feel comfortable out there,” said [starting center and China national team member] Tang Zhengdong.

Sure, Wright may be the spark that ignites Jiangsu’s turnaround this season.  But, he also might just be the mensch that gets the players of the NBA back into the good graces of Chinese owners.

Follow Jon Pastuszek on Twitter @NiuBBall

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Monday Morning Jianbing

January 3, 2011

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

  • If you’re looking for yet another reason why the NBA is keenly interested in China, about 33.9 percent of China’s population is now online.  That’s roughly 450 million internet users.
  • According to Hakeem Olajuwon, Yao Ming is going to give it his “best try” to come back from another devestating foot injury.  The original interview from Sohu in Chinese can be seen here; the English translated version is here via Yao Ming Mania.  Also from YMM – the first public photos of Yao Ming’s baby girl.
  • Antoine Wright arrived in Nanjing yesterday morning China time and has already started working out with his new team, Jiangsu.  If all continues to go well as expected, he’ll likely be in uniform for Wednesday’s Round 11 match away at Guangdong.
  • Happy New Year to Beijing public transportation — five brand spanking new subway and light rail lines opened up on the 31st, including a line out to suburb Shunyi, an area that is rich with private international schools and their spotless indoor basketball courts.  More ball in winter makes this blogger a happy guy.
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Zaijian means goodbye: Davis, James both officially cut

December 31, 2010

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Confirming a report published by NiuBBall.com last week, both Mike James and Ricky Davis have been officially cut by their Chinese teams, Zhejiang Chouzhou and Jiangsu.

According to The Modern Express (via Sina), Jiangsu will replace Davis with Antonie Wright.  Wright was signed last night after Jiangsu faxed over the final contract to Wright’s agent.  Wright will fly out to Nanjing and join up with his team for practice on January 2nd, and barring any unforeseen setbacks, will be officially added to the team’s roster by the 4th.

Chouzhou, meanwhile, will go ahead as planned with Marcus Williams.  Struggling at 2-6, Chouzhou feels that the large amount spent to bring James over is being wasted and can be better used on a more versatile two-way player. Though James had been averaging 28.7 points in his eight games, the team felt he wasn’t doing an adequate job of getting his teammates going on offense and wasn’t fully committed to practice.

Williams played 30 games with Chouzhou last year, averaging 19.3 points and 11.2 rebounds.

Unsatisfied with Davis for weeks, Jiangsu and Wright have been in informal discussions dating back to last month. The holdup was over whether Wright, who was cut by the Sacramento Kings on November 30th, could land a roster spot with another NBA team.  When the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were considering Wright for a roster spot along with a group of other free-agents, went with Alonzo Gee, Wright had Jiangsu to fall back on and the two sides quickly came to an agreement.

James and Davis are two of the latest big name former NBA players to have been cut since the beginning of the season on December 10th, joining Patrick O’Bryant, Javaris Crittenton and Steve Francis.

A TOM Sports story posted two days ago quoted an anonymous figure within Jiangsu, who took a parting shot at Davis before getting some words in on the team’s other American import, center Jerome Moiso: “…When [Davis] was in the NBA he was an import who loved to cause trouble.  It’s very difficult for an import like this to have success at Jiangsu. And then you look at our other import, Moiso, you see his stats and you see that he’s definitely not an outstanding import.  I really have no idea how the team thought about getting these two guys.”

“The first few games of the season he was scoring 20 points a game.  Now a good game for him is scoring in single digits.  What use does this import have?”

I find it hilarious, yet all too typical, that the mystery figure still used wai yuan, the word for “foreign player” that literally translates into “foreign aid,” when talking about Davis in his NBA days in America where he’s from. The word wai, which means “outside,”  commonly precedes other words to make various forms of the word “foreigner,” such as wai guo ren (foreigner, literally “a person from outside the country”), wai jiao (foreign coach) and of course, wai yuan.  I guess once a wai guo ren, always a wai guo ren, even when being referred to in your pre-China, pre wai guo ren days of yonder.

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Source: Ricky Davis and Mike James on the way out of China

December 22, 2010

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The Jiangsu Dragons’ Ricky Davis and the Zhejiang Golden Bulls’ Mike James are no strangers to each other on the court, having faced off against each other for years in the NBA.  After going against each other for the first time in China on Sunday, they might have played as opponents for the last.

According to a source speaking anonymously to NiuBBall.com, Zhejiang Chouzhou and Jiangsu are both set to cut their high-profile imports by the end of the week.

Zhejiang will release James within the next couple of days and replace him with former  San Antonio Spurs draftee, Marcus Williams.  Williams is scheduled to arrive in China by tomorrow and is probable to suit up on Friday against Shanxi.  The 6-3 guard played 30 games with Chouzhou last year after being waived by the Spurs in October, averaging 19.7 points and 11.2 rebounds.

But, James is not the only NBA veteran to be on the way out after just two weeks into the season.

According to the same source, Jiangsu’s Davis is also on the way out after the team has privately started a search for a replacement import guard.  Davis, averaging a dissapointing 14.9 points a game, has already expressed displeasure with his teammates and with his role on the team.  Davis wasn’t in the starting lineup on Sunday’s win against Chouzhou, playing only 21 minutes and scoring 7 points on 3-9 shooting.

James and Davis are two of the many long-time, higher profile former NBA players who were lured across the Pacific as a result of the league’s decision in the off-season to lift all cap restrictions for import players this year.  Originally brought in to boost both teams’ record and ticket sales, Zhejiang and Jiangsu ownership have quickly soured on the two’s overall attitude, individual performance and commitment towards playing in China.

“They realize that these guys just aren’t worth the money,” the source said.

Though James has scored the ball well, averaging 28.5 points over the team’s first four games, Zhejiang has slumped to a disappointing 1-3 record to start the year.  And while Jiangsu is off to a strong 3-1 start, Davis, playing in the backcourt alongside the accomplished Hu Xuefeng, an offensive minded player who has played on multiple occasions for the Chinese national team over the last decade, has struggled to adapt on offense and has grown increasingly frustrated over his lack of touches on that end of the court.

Chouzhou plays Wednesday in Round Five action against 2-2 Shanghai, while Jiangsu plays last place Jilin.

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Thursday Afternoon Tanghulu

December 16, 2010

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Sweetening up your afternoon with a stick of Beijing’s timeless sugar coated snack and some links

  • Jiangsu’s big man in the middle, Tang Zhendgong, ended his long holdout with management late Tuesday night after recent speculation that the seven-foot center wouldn’t play at all this year.  With Tang finally on board, the Dragons now have every one of its players under contract for this season.  The former national team center scored four points and hauled down two rebounds in his debut in last night’s win against Foshan.
  • Guangdong’s title defense looks like it just got a lot harder.  Midway through the second quarter last night, center David Harrison went up for a rebound under the basket and went down on the floor hard with the full force of Jilin’s 275 pound center, Liu Wei, crushed on his ankle.  Harrison was carried out into an ambulance on a stretcher and is in Hong Kong awaiting diagnosis.  Judging by these pictures, that diagnosis won’t be good.
  • Anyone who has flied to China from the States can relate to this: Steve Francis is very, very jetlagged.  As a veteran of cross-Pacific aerial travel, I know a few things about getting over that, the first being never, never take a long afternoon nap during the first few days, no matter how tired you are.  After a morning shootaround yesterday, an exhausted Francis went back to a hotel near the Shougang Center and… took an ill nap before the athletic trainer forced the groggy jetlagged guard out of bed at around 3pm.
  • And now for some shameless self-promotion.  I’m teaming up with City Weekend Online for a weekly CBA recap, with the first installment already up on the site here.  Like I said, its going to be a once-a-week thing, so make sure to check back every Tuesday for more.
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Ricky Davis unhappy in Jiangsu

December 15, 2010

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After only one game in a Jiangsu Dragons uniform, and Ricky Davis is already unhappy with his new Chinese teammates.

Following a 115-04 loss to DongGuan New Century in their season opener, Davis was the last player to leave the stadium as he sat motionless in the locker room, according to a report by Basketball Pioneers. Talking to reporters after the game,  a visibly frustrated Davis, unsatisfied with his tepid 21 point, 4 rebound debut as well as with the teams overall performance, talked about collective problems with chemistry and teamwork, while calling the night itself  ”a nightmare.”

Davis’ discouragement with these issues was best exemplified during the game’s last moments.  Down 15 with a few minutes left, Davis became upset with teammate Hu Xuefeng after the point-guard decided not to pass him the ball while he was wide open for a three. Apparently at his limit, Davis disengaged himself from the offense completely on the next few possessions, standing  outside the three-point line with his hands on the bottom of his shorts.

Though only present with the team for less than a month himself, Davis may have a point: Jiangsu’s opening round loss comes off the heels of a tumultuous off-season where a number of the team’s Chinese players, including a key core of veterans, held out of training camp over disputes about salary and bonus money payouts.  The team’s star center, Tang Zhengdong, who has also played for the national team, was the last player to end his dispute with team management after he agreed on a one-year arrangement late last night.  He practiced with his teammates for the first time all year this morning.

Despite speculation that Davis may be on the way out soon, Jiangsu general manager Wang Min stated that he thinks the player will show his true ability very quickly.

Tonight, Davis scored 21 points playing 41 minutes in a 100-70 win against Foshan and their star point-guard, Stephon Marbury.  Marbury went for 18 points on 6-16 shooting and 7 assists as his new team dropped to 0-2 on the year.

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