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Chinese basketball stars training locally

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ROSEMEAD – Sun Yue was just taking it easy Thursday during practice. The 6-foot-9 starting point guard for the Beijing Aoshen Olympian Basketball Team has an injured back this week, but he won’t miss the game this Sunday. Beijing Aoshen is not just on the road this season, they are really far from home – from China’s capital to Rosemead. “Coming here to play games helps me very much,” Yue said. “Here everybody plays basketball – old men, young guys. This is a basketball country.” Yue’s team is now a part of American basketball culture – at least for this season. Beijing Aoshen practice in the Don Bosco High Technical Institute gym in Rosemead and live on the nearby University of the West campus, where they are also studying English. The team has joined the American Basketball Association and so far they are 1-0, winning their opener last week against the Fresno Heatwave. The team faces the Bellingham Slam on Sunday. An American coaching staff is training the team. Three of its players are also American. Aoshen joined the ABA in September and will stay in Rosemead through March. “This is a good opportunity for the team to play at a different level,” said Aoshen general manager George Pickering. Basketball has become a phenomenon in China, its popularity fueled by superstar Yao Ming. Young boys can be found playing hoops in rural Hunan Province in 105-degree weather and torrential rain. Lebron James knock-off basketball shoes stock store shelves from Beijing to the countryside of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Televised Chinese Basketball Association games draw audiences of more than 600 million viewers, according to China’s state press. And Chinese players like 21-year old Yue are NBA prospects. Yue’s future is bright. Chinese officials announced this week he is on the short list of players, including Yao Ming, who will qualify for the Chinese Olympic basketball team in 2008. Forward Xin Jin said it’s hard to predict how Aoshen’s ABA season will go, but it’s nice to be away from the extreme weather conditions that make practicing a challenge in Beijing. “I will just try my best and try to win every game,” said the 6-foot-9-inch Xin. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2717last_img read more