James Wang ’12 Signs Two-Year Contract to Play Professional Basketball in China
WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- Former Eph All-American guard James Wang has signed a two-year contract to play for Guangxi Weizhuang, in the Chinese National Basketball League. Guangxi Weizhuang plays in the city of Nanning, in the Guangxi province.
The 10-team Chinese National Basketball League will play an 18-game regular season next May-August with the top four teams advancing to the playoffs
Guangxi Weizhuang had to perform well in two recent tournaments to gain acceptance into the Chinese National Basketball League for the 2014 season.
With James Wang averaging 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game over the six games in the two tournaments, Guangxi Weizhuang won both tournaments, securing a berth in the Chinese National Basketball League.
In the second tournament the top two teams from the first tournament competed against the two lowest teams in the CNBL were matched up. Winning the first tournament was important, but winning the second tournament proved conclusively that Wang's team was ready to compete in the CNBL this coming summer.
|James Wang '12|
"We just wrapped up the qualifying tournament on Sunday, where we won all three games," said Wang. "Again, in order to qualify for next season, we had to either win the tournament, or come 2nd. I know it sounds complicated. However, this is China, and nothing here is ever kept simple, like I learned last year with my eligibility issues! "
"We're the only professional team in a city that has never had a professional sports team before," Wang added. "So, right now we haven't gotten a whole lot of attention because we haven't played in Chines National Basketball League, or even had a game at home yet. What I like about this situation though is that there is a lot of growth potential. If we do well next season, then we can start to build a fan base in Nanning, and hopefully start earning some national attention."
Last season due to his eligibility issues surrounding having not played for a national team previously and being of Taiwanese heritage, Wang was forced to play in the Taiwan SBL although some teams in the China Basketball Association were interested.
Playing for the Pu Yuan Construction team, which was well established, and consistently one of the top teams in Taiwan, Wang was relegated to a substitute's role for his team that went on to claim the Taiwan SBL title.
"I am officially considered a native player now in China, but there are several cultural differences between China and Taiwan. So unofficially, sometimes, well most times I feel like a foreign player!"
"We will be allowed to have one import player next season, but we obviously haven't decided who we want yet, continued Wang. "The import crop in this league last year was really good, with several players who recently played in the NBA. Those guys were Hasaan Whiteside, Craig Smith, Hilton Armstrong, and Josh Harrelson. My coach has been talking about bringing in that caliber of a player for us next year."
When Guangxi Weizhuang qualified for the the CNBL history was made in China. "This is most Taiwanese players on a team ever in Chinese basketball history," Wang noted. "No team in China at any level has had more than two Taiwanese players. So in a way, my team is very progressive. My coach, Qiu Da Zhong, is Taiwanese, as are Jet Chang, who played Division II basketball at BYU-Hawaii, and graduated in 2012 and Lin Yi-Huei. Yi-Huei is an older Taiwanese basketball player who has been playing professionally in Taiwan since he was 18. Both players are members of the Taiwanese national team, so both are really talented."
There are 10 teams in the league and the regular season next year is 18 games, with four teams making the playoffs.
Wang graduated from Williams as the fourth all-time leading scorer in the Purple Valley with 1,576 points.