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Wang Quanze brings something new to China’s U18 squad
NONTHABURI (FIBA Asia U18 Championship) - Wang Quanze, or Michael Wang, is going to be something “different” for the China U18 National Team that will play in the FIBA U18 Asian Championship in Thailand.
China is used to producing world-class level talent. From Guo Ailun to Wang Zhelin to Zhou Qi, the list goes on and on. If everything goes as planned, Wang Quanze just might be the next in line to join that group of elite players himself. What separates Wang from the others is that during the past 4 years, he has been honing his craft in California, halfway across the world from China.
Wang Quanze has made a name for himself during his high school years at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California. Despite playing for a powerhouse high school in a highly competitive state which has produced NBA talents like Stanley Johnson, Wang has held his own and shined brightly. In his senior year, he emerged as one of the best players on the team. Though he’ll always be one of the taller players on the court at 6’10”, Wang has impressed in being more than just a tall guy.
“He’s so versatile,” said Mater Dei teammate Spencer Freedman. “A 6-10 guy who can shoot, dribble and pass.”
The path has been long and difficult, as expected, for Wang. It was only four years ago when the 14-year-old from Shanxi decided that he wanted to move to California to play basketball in the States. There was plenty of adjustments for him to make, but he’s weathered through the obstacles and things are falling into place. Wang finished his high school career touted as a three-star recruit and will be enrolling at the University of Pennsylvania this fall where he’ll be a major piece of a prized recruiting class expected to continue the school’s rise in basketball.
“Michael Wang played at such a high level of high school basketball and AAU and performed so well,” Penn Coach Steve Donahue said. “With his size, he’s not someone that will be tasked with handling the ball a lot. I think that he’s someone that we expect to come in and be a pretty main contributor early in his career.”
“He was one of those kids that we saw on the AAU circuit in the Nike EYBL, and I couldn’t believe his skill level at that size to be honest,” Donahue said. “He really passes well and shoots well and has a good post game. It really jumps out at you.”
Before he’ll take court at the famed Palestra gymnasium, he’ll get a chance to star for the Chinese National Team in the upcoming FIBA U18 Asian Championship. It’s unusual to have a US-based player called up to play for the youth national team, but that just goes to show how highly-rated Wang is.
Wang has been enjoying the early phases of this national team stint so far, his first opportunity to represent Team China.
"It’s been great," Wang said prior to playing in the tournament. "I reported to the team last month. Everyone’s friends with each other, the team chemistry is good. Everything's good."
"The most fun on the court is definitely winning so if we win, we'll definitely have fun."
China have been the top class of U18 basketball in Asia as all-time leaders with 11 gold medals, but were highly disappointed when they didn’t even finish in the Top 4 of the 2016 tournament ending their back-to-back-to-back championship run.
Now with Wang anchored in the middle, China are looking to reclaim their seat at the throne.