Home » Sports » Basketball » Chinese center to enter draft

Chinese center to enter draft

Chinese basketball player Zhou Qi will enter the 2016 NBA draft, media reports said, bidding to succeed superstar Yao Ming as the league’s top name from China.

Zhou, a centre who towers 2.18 metres (7 feet 2 inches) tall, has played two seasons for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), leading it for blocks both times.

Nicknamed “the big devil king,” he has already filed his paperwork to enter the draft – when NBA teams in June select their new players for the season – and begun training in the US, Tencent Sport said.

Chinese fans are avid followers of the NBA and constitute its largest overseas market, but the CBA has failed to produce top-notch talent, with the exception of recent Hall of Fame inductee Yao.

Yao retired in 2011 and there has been no Chinese player in the NBA since Yi Jianlian left in 2012. American Jeremy Lin, the Charlotte Hornets’ point guard, is ethnically Chinese but his parents are from Taiwan.

Zhou weighs 95 kilogrammes (210 pounds), and averaged 15.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks in the 2015-2016 season for Xinjiang, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported. (AFP)